I’m back from the best summer vacation ever, a 5 day summer camp in Michigan! It was uh-mazing. Camp fires, sing-alongs, yoga, morning runs, dance parties, lake swimming, adventure races, great food and bunking with 9 total strangers who became your best friends by the end of the trip. I literally can’t stop talking about it.
The only (and I do mean ONLY) disappointment from this trip was my book choice. Girl, Wash Your Face was highly recommended and discussed profusely over Facebook by one of my nearest and dearest. Her opinion paired with a 92% 5 star rating on Amazon was enough to get me to purchase this book. I want my $12 back.
Rachel Hollis is not a life coach or a mentor, she is a life-style blog guru and event planner, so Girl, Wash Your Face is not written in your normal self-help style. This is refreshing but also a little bit annoying. The chapters and story telling felt insanely disjointed and often repeated across different chapters but with new or different information. Even after reading the entire book, I had no idea who Rachel Hollis was. I didn’t know the name of her blog or why it was so famous. I didn’t know how many kids she actually had. 2 boys? 4 boys? A daughter? Where they all adopted? Some natural, some adopted? I had no idea where she actually lived or came from. Based on her voice, she came across as a girl from the deep south with lots of Southern colloquialisms and uber Christian values/sayings. Surprise! She’s from a small town in California. WHAT? Didn’t see that coming. Was she a recovering alcoholic? Someone who realized they were about to drop off that cliff? Still don’t know. Granted, none of these are things I know about Jen Sincero, Liz Gilbert or Mark Manson, however none of these authors talked so profusely about themselves in their books. Hollis’ books is essentially a memoir with a few self-help-isms tossed in. I love a good memoir, but prefer to read them about people I am interested in and would not have picked up Hollis’ book if it had been billed as a memoir and not a self-help.
Speaking of self-help, let’s get to that. Hollis essentially starts each chapter with a “lie” she has told herself about herself, something negative and ugly. This has the power to be profound, but it ends up feeling forced. Something about Hollis’ writing comes across as insincere and flippant. The entire book, in my opinion, comes across as immature, vapid and thrown together. I think most of this comes from her choice to write in a very casual trendy manner, using words and cultural references that will in no way stand the test of time. I am the same age as Hollis and couldn’t stand the blippy slang she used CONSTANTLY. (And yes, I just made up a word because I can’t find any other words to describe what would otherwise be bubble-headed basic bitch slang.)
As mentioned before, there were a lot of stories that were repeated within chapters and many of those stories weren’t well fleshed out. The most powerful story in the book, about her brother’s suicide and how it completely changed her life, wasn’t really given any more emotion or space than any other topic.
Hollis has a lot to talk about and a lot of experiences that really resonate with her readers; her brother’s suicide and subsequent melt down of her family, an abusive relationship, struggles with adoption and foster care, flirting with alcoholism, being a successful working mom, creating her own empire, becoming an author. But she lets her readers down with her bubble-headed approach to everything. Yes, be positive, be light, be fun. But Girl, be smart, be mature, be profound.
All in all, 2 stars. 0 from me, 2 because my bestie loved this book and our discussion about it was very deep and brought up a lot of great topics for us to flesh out around motherhood, career and the need for validation.
Until next time, happy reading!
OOOOHHH and before I forget..Michigan is apparently “The Beer State”. While there, I was able to try some amazing beer from Founders Brewing Company. Dirty Bastard, a Scotch, style ale was fantastic. It was a very strong beer and tasted a little smokey, but good. Backwoods Bastard, a bourbon barrel-aged scotch ale, was insanely strong. At 11% this beer went down more like whiskey and was not a great choice for breakfast at the airport!