Book Reviews

May 2020 Book Review

I took most of the week off last week because there was a heaviness in this world that needed to be discussed, needed to be thought about, and needed to be prayed over. I took the time I usually spent writing and creating and I spent it talking with God, reading my Bible, and praying. I took the minutes during my quiet moments in the morning and naptime, and I read, I listened, and I educated myself on issues, feelings, and events.

No, I don’t think I’m any closer to having answers or I’m any closer to knowing how I can do a better job of being a strong voice or an advocate in just one weeks time, but I had some amazing realizations and I started an avenue of growth. I opened my eyes and ears and listened more, spoke more truths, and hurt right along with you.

Just because I’m back doesn’t mean I’m stopping what I started. It doesn’t mean that my attention is over this current news cycle. I’m continuing to hurt, I’m continuing to spread love, and I’m continuing to raise my children with love, with empathy, with kindness, with grace, and with understanding. We will learn together. We will love one another together. We are in this together.

Yes, I’m ready to be a light again on Growing Up Kemper. I’m ready to get back to a positive place for you to be. And what better way to do that with a book review for May! (Yes, it’s June 8th. Yes, I’m late. Yes, we’re still doing this! 😉)

So let’s dive in! Here’s what I read this week and some honest thoughts to go along with them…


My first book I read this month was called Untamed by Glennon Doyle, an author with the huge hit “Love Warrior” already under her belt. She’s all over the Today Show lately, and boy oh boy, is she an opinionated one! This book was chosen for my book club and I was really excited to dive in. A book that advertises how women can stop striving to meet others’ expectations and start trusting our own voice deep within us. Sign.Me.Up! I had some serious buy-in and was excited to read. The first two chapters had me hooked and I was already finding myself taking mental notes about ways I can teach my sons and daughter regarding gender norms and self-image.

Then it took a turn. Then it began to be a book about all the things we do wrong as parents and role models. The language we use, the unconscious way we are as a society. One chapter went into a long opinion about saying the phrase, “I love you no matter what,” to our children, and how we are essentially telling our children they are disappointing us. Well darn, I may have already used that one on my kids. 😏

For a book that is meant to stop striving to meet so many expectations, I finished the book feeling like I wasn’t meeting ANY expectations as a mother, as a wife, and as a citizen. I felt that I was being told I’m doing everything wrong instead of actually making me feel like I could break away. I know some people adore this book and this could be a hot-button review, but I was not a fan of this one! I struggled to make it through, I ended up skipping over sections because I was getting so frustrated, and I just did not enjoy much of this at all. Some opinions and ideas were extremely thought-provoking, but it overall left a really bad taste in my mouth. 🤨

All Adults Here

I stumbled across All Adults Here by Emma Straub while searching through Amazon and I loved the concept of it: A look at family dysfunction from the eyes of a mother, 68, and her three grown children. The characters were all a little quirky, but the mother, Astrid Strick, took the cake. I loved her reflection on the mistakes she made as a young mother and how it is never too late to make up for them. This book tackled some major topics (same-sex marriage, abortion, bullying) in a light way and added just the right amount of family tension throughout. It’s real life in an easy to read, breeze through the chapters kind of way, and it was just what I wanted. It’s Brothers and Sisters//Parenthood in a book. A perfect book to read poolside in your lounge chair this summer!

The Things We Cannot Say

Kelly Rimmer’s The Things We Cannot Say is a story with chapters that alternate between Alice in present time United States, and Alina, a young woman in Poland during the Nazi Occupation. It’s a historical fiction love story that focuses on searching into the past to find the missing pieces. I enjoyed the characters, the story line, and the historical perspectives that developed with these characters. I feel like the story has been done before, but I’m a huge sucker for historical fiction books during WWII…a la The Nightingale (one of my very favs!). An easy read, still brought a tear to my eye, and had a pretty big twist that I never saw coming. A good book, but I’d put The Nightingale topping this one any day!

That’s it for “this month’s” book reviews! I’ve finished one already for June and about to start a new one tonight that I’m so, so excited for! Bring on the hot days, the poolsides, and some new books on the Kindle! ☀

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