Buy It, Borrow It or Bag It: Growing Up Duggar by Jana, Jinger, Jessa and Jill Duggar

Duggar    First of all in full disclosure…I only Borrowed this book from the library. I do not have a daughter that I could share a book like this with so it made no sense for me to purchase it at all. However, I was curious. I have been very fascinated by this family for a long time and I was curious as to what a book “all about relationships” would be about.

As you might expect (or know, if you watch the show) the Duggars have VERY conservative Christian values. The books they read, the limited TV they watch, the Internet sites that they use are all heavily monitored by their parents. They dress modestly, the girls are usually in dresses (unless safety is an issue and they would have to wear pants for some reason), although they are not prevented from receiving a college education, there’s nothing to suggest that any of the daughters have big plans to enroll in Harvard any time soon.

So what would these kids have to say about relationships? Quite a lot and to my surprise, some of it I actually agree with. Oh, I don’t think I would tell my daughter (if I had one) to hold off on kissing her boyfriend until her wedding day, but I do see a lot of value in concentrating on getting to know a person better through non-physical ways of communication and not concerning oneself with having the best clothes, shoes, etc. I may not care or their long denim skirts, but the Duggar girls don’t look like frumpy slobs either. In one part of the book, they mention wedding dress designers that make modest gowns and out of curiosity, I went to the websites they listed…I was shocked. I expected to see something really….well outdated, but I saw some gorgeous gowns that I NEVER would have categorized as “Duggarish.”

Os there a lot of mention of God? You bet. Is there a lot of conservative claptrap? Yeppers. I cracked up when they talked about getting involved with politics and “finding a good conservative candidate” because ok, maybe that’s not the best message to send. However, it’s their book and if you are buying a book by the Duggars and expecting it to be radically different from what you see on TV…well, then you are barking up the wrong tree.

I am all about positive roe models for today’s girls and unfortunately it seems like there aren’t a lot so I will take what I can get. Years ago, I had Jo, Blair, Natalie and Tootie each week to help me make sense of life, not Khloe, Kourtney and the rest of the Kardashian crew. If you are a mother, Borrow this book and read it for yourself before introducing it to your daughter. If you like what you read, then there you go (believe me, this book is NOT for everyone)…if it’s not for your family find something else. But find something else. Because if we don’t identify solid mentors for them, they will find their own.

As an aside and speaking as a former daughter: If your daughter does have a role model that you feel is inappropriate, talk to her about why she likes that person. You may be surprised. Once upon a time, my mother HATED the fact that I admired Gene Simmons of KISS…she called him a “freak.” Finally one day she said, “I just don’t see why you like him, Julie.” To which I replied, ” Well mom, he has a strong work ethic, is devoted to his mother, used to be a school teacher, has a degree and at one time thought about becoming a rabbi. His mother survived the Nazi death camps and he vowed never to do drugs or touch alcohol. I also heard that he can speak seven different languages. Still think he is a bad influence on me?” She never said another bad thing about him and actually started watching his show! My point is, don’t criticize what you don’t understand until you take the time to find out more.

As for the Duggar girls…check it out and decide for yourself.


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