Girl, Wash Your Face

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

I’ve heard so much controversy over this book, I had to read it for myself. Rachel is no doubt a motivated person and she offers some advice in this book that helped her throughout different seasons of life. It was a quick read with some chapters that spoke to me, some with uplifting vibes, and a few that I didn’t connect with (the mom chapters as I don’t have any children). The advice was generally not earth-shattering, but it’s always a great reminder to give yourself a little grace.
This may be one where listening to the audiobook could be worthwhile as I think her personal hype would add dimension to the context. 
Overall, I am really glad I read this book. Rachel’s drive, persistence, and motivation are an inspiration.
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I started off a huge fan of this book!  I am always in for a good motivational / self help read and this one was similar to Present over Perfect or The gifts of Imperfection for me (which I loved!).  This one was very real and also funny which made it very easy to read. I am religious so didn't mind the religious comments but felt that they were randomly added or tied in at the end of the chapters. 

I related to a lot of Rachel's stories so I felt like she was speaking right to me at some points!  Some of the stories were a little too superficial (louis vuitton bag, being skinny etc) and sometimes contradicting so I can see how these might rub people the wrong way who didn't relate.  I definitely wanted to keep reading her writing and I absolutely feel motivated to take some personal steps in my life after finishing this.
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Please note: I read the electronic version of Girl, Wash Your Face. The page numbers referenced in this review may not perfectly match up with the page numbers in the physical book. Initially, I wasn't planning on reading Girl, Wash Your Face by lifestyle blogger Rachel Hollis. Of course, I've noticed all the hype the book has received, it's hard not to when it's popularity has spread rapidly over social media and the book quickly climbed to a top spot on The New York Times bestseller list. The book is categorized by its publisher Thomas Nelson as Self-Help/Motivational & Inspirational. My MO is to generally avoid this genre as I consider it full of worldly advice that is truly unhelpful and ultimately deceptive. I also consider it to be full of things that sound enticing but aren't practical - what I refer to as, "fluff." I first had reservations about Girl, Wash Your Face when I read the book's description on the Thomas Nelson website. The description mentions nothing about God or Scripture so that was a red flag to me, especially from a book released by a "Christian" publisher. The second red flag for me was reading Rachel's bio on her blog. Her bio also mentioned nothing of her love for the Lord and His word, which struck me as odd. I was tagged in a Facebook conversation by some friends who were curious about my thoughts of Girl, Wash Your Face since I do many Christian book reviews on my blog. I figured it would be helpful to read the book, see how it compares to the ultimate Christian book (the Bible), and share my findings. Based on conservative Christian reviews and opinions I've seen floating around the internet (which have largely come from individuals who haven't actually read Girl, Wash Your Face), I feel the need to preface my review with some hills that I'm not going to die on. These are: 1. Rachel's Instagram bio - In her bio she states nothing about her love for the Lord. Initially, I was unsure about this but I know many people who love the Lord and don't include anything about that in their Instagram bio. I also know that Instagram limit users to a smaller number of characters in the bio section. In one review I read, the reviewer stated something along the lines of "Rachel's handle, @msrachelhollis, is very telling." The reviewer was implying that we can infer much from this because it says "Ms." rather than "Mrs." I had to roll my eyes at that as I feel it was very far-fetched and perhaps a bit too critical. 2. The fact that she's a working mother - I've often experienced in conservative Christian circles a sinful sense of elevation and pride in being a stay at home mom. If one is able to stay home with their children, that is great, but it doesn't make one more holy than another and it actually isn't a Biblical requirement. The idea of women staying home comes from Titus 2:5 in which older women in the church are instructed to teach younger women in the church how to be workers at home. This verse is not a command for women to only work at home, rather, it emphasizes that a woman's heart should prioritize things related to the home. 1 Timothy 5:14 refers to women doing this as women who are, "managing their households." This can look very different from woman to woman or home to home. Some examples of what this might look like can be found in Proverbs 31:10-31 which provides a list of actions a Godly woman might perform as an outward manifestation of her love for God and others. Proverbs 31 even mentions that the ideal Godly woman sometimes works outside of the home (see verses 13-14, 16, 24). Also, keep in mind, the Proverbs 31 woman is not an actual woman. Rather, she is an idea created by the mother of King Lemuel who wanted her son to learn what to look for in a woman he would someday consider marrying. Considering these clarifications, I'm not bothered that Rachel works and also has a family just like many Godly women I know.  The subtitle of Girl, Wash Your Face reads, "Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Are Meant to Be." Since the premise of the book is about not believing lies, I found it interesting that throughout the introduction and much of the book, Rachel touts multiple times some form of the expression, "You are in control." This statement in and of itself is a huge lie and very deceiving. Recalling the account of when sin entered the world in Genesis 3, we learn that when Eve bought the lie that she was in control, (instead of trusting God to be in control) there were dire consequences including separation from God and death.Ultimately, the truth is that we are not in control. Not only is an all-powerful, all sovereign King ruling the universe, we are governed by laws of the land that immediately limit the extent of the control we may think we have. Regarding God being in control, Rachel stated in the Intro, "As a Christian, I grew up learning that God was in control, that God had a plan for my life, and I believe in the marrow of my bones that this is true." I truly began to question this though because she reported one time that she believes that God is in control while stating multiple times that you as an individual have control over what happens in your life. I found this to be quite troubling and contrary to the truth of Scripture. Based off of what I read in Girl, Wash Your Face and a recent viral Facebook post of Rachel's (similar to the sentiments expressed in Chapter 19), she writes in a way that appeals to all. Were the book released by a secular publisher, I would have no problem with this, in fact, I would expect it. However, since Rachel's book comes from a publisher who claims they are, " . . . committed to one central mission: inspiring the world by meeting the needs of people with content that promotes biblical principles and honors Jesus Christ," I was disheartened because this book doesn't honor Christ and contains scant biblical principles. When Scripture was used, it was done so to support Rachel's message so it was often out of context or just incorrect. Some examples of this include her use of what appears to be Ephesians 5:13 (no reference or translation was mentioned and performing a Google search of Rachel's version of the verse yielded no exact results). She wrote, "The Bible says, let that which is in the darkness be brought into the light. When things are allowed to sit in the darkness, when we're afraid to speak them aloud, we give them power. The darkness lets those fears fester and grow until they become stronger over time." According to Rachel, this passage is about bringing fears to light so they will no longer have a role to play when making decisions. However, if you read Ephesians 5:13-14 in context, it is actually about sin being exposed. Another example of Rachel's misuse of Scripture is found on page 189 with the term "fruits of the Spirit" which biblically is "fruit of the Spirit" (this is the manifestation of the Spirit at work in the life of a believer which produces fruit and that fruit contains the 9 characteristics described in Galatians 5:22-23). Rachel encourages women to pick one characteristic and work toward cultivating it, however, one cannot just become more like Christ by working on one of these 9 characteristics. If one has not been changed by God through repentance and trust in Christ alone, the Spirit is not at work in them. Such an individual may attempt to work on these areas and may see improvement outwardly but will never experience a true, lasting change of heart apart from Christ. I wish Rachel's book included this information since there are so many non-Christian women reading it. It is disheartening to know that many will walk away having read this "Christian" book and not know about the hope in Christ for salvation.I would describe Girl, Wash Your Face as largely autobiographical with tidbits of advice mixed in based on Rachel's personal experiences. Her experiences seem to be the standard for the help she offers rather than Scripture. Upon reading Rachel's bio on her blog, I was appalled to find a post she wrote titled, "I Got A Boob Job." I read the post and while I don't know whether or not getting a boob job is in and of itself inherently sinful, I had to question whether or not the way Rachel went about getting it and posting about it, was discerning and wise. Within the post, there is no mention of prayer, considering Scripture, or seeking counsel which I found to be very concerning. I wasn't going to include my thoughts about that post in this review since it is about Rachel's book but I found the same lack of discernment in Chapter 7 titled, "The Lie: I'm Bad At Sex." Rachel begins the chapter by explaining, "I"m going to talk about sex as a married, Christian woman, and I hope it'll be okay." Yet the chapter is chock full of her own personal standards about sex and inappropriate, tactless quips about what sex looks like in her marriage. On page 126 she wrote, "We do it more than any married couple you know. . . When it's really good, why would you not go at it like a couple of howler monkeys whenever you can?" This may certainly be true for Rachel and her husband Dave (who she wrote was uncomfortable with her writing the chapter) but is it appropriate and necessary for the world to know? Probably not. Considering the language used in Song of Solomon, a book of the Bible dedicated entirely to the sexual aspect of the marital relationship, sex is a beautiful and wonderful gift from God. Sex is, indeed, for married couples to enjoy but the language with which this is expressed isn't rude or crass. When the Bible refers to sex in the marital relationship between a husband and wife (the way God created it to be) there is also expressed a sense of intimacy and privacy in which others aren't invited in to know unnecessary details. I found this chapter to be a bit shocking and thought the worst of it was over only to turn the page where there were a few more tidbits of the same tone. For the sake of decency, I've decided not to include all of them in this review. An additional concern within the same chapter is Rachel's use of the term "partners," (pg. 133) because this is a broad term whereas the Bible speaks specifically of sex between a married man and woman. Although, I suppose I should have expected this considering Rachel and her husband lead a marriage conference, "For couples in a romantic relationship. . . from every walk of life, every kind of background, every religion, every orientation, every political affiliation, every season." In the conclusion of this chapter, the first bit of advice Rachel offers is, "I redefined sex in my own mind." She elaborates, "I decided to change sex to what I thought sex was . . .This might not be what sex is for you, your friends, or the Holy Ghost and all the saints; but going forward I decided that sex was supposed to be a fun experience that would always be more compelling than whatever else I could be doing." I was disappointed to learn that Rachel's view of sex is based on her own definition rather than God's. Her goal of making sex more compelling than anything else she could be doing sounded almost idolatrous which I also found concerning. I was thankful, however, that she did discourage readers from using pornography. Rachel does discourage readers from using pornography which I am thankful for. The third bit of advice Rachel offers in this chapter is, "I read Hebrews 13:4." I thought perhaps, things were looking up as there was finally a reference to Scripture but within this point, she wrote, ". . . If it turns you on and doesn't hurt you, I say go for it!" Sigh. She also said, "I'm sure someone who studied theology will tell me that this actually means something different . . . " This was so disappointing to me from a "Christian" author whose book is produced by a "Christian" publisher. If you're going to include Scripture in your book, it should be the case that you've studied it and know the context of it. Hebrews 13 is a chapter that contains instruction for the church and verse 4 in its entirety states, "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous." This verse is an instruction for believers to value sex within the God-given gift of marriage and contains a warning for those who choose to do otherwise without repentance. My concern with Rachel's view of the verse is that it's not contextually accurate which leaves room for wrong interpretation. Furthermore, her advice to, "go for it" is so broad that it leaves room for women to approach sex in a selfish manner rather than seeing it as an opportunity for mutual selfless service. I appreciate that Rachel's heart is to create a community where women can encourage one another and build each other up but the way she does so is unbiblical. She essentially says rather than drawing lines in the sand, women should be welcoming everyone in. I agree that Christian women should be kind and gentle in cultivating friendships. Where Rachel goes too far is by encouraging friendships that are limited in depth because women are not encouraged to speak the truth in love or rather, speak the truth at all. Rachel is very open and welcoming to the homosexual community which isn't inherently wrong. I do believe that many Christians have mistreated this community and painted a wrong or incomplete picture of who Christ is to this particular community and to unsaved people in general. However, the way to paint the correct picture is not simply by befriending an individual in continual, unrepentant sin, although this is a good place to start - rather, it is by cultivating a relationship with the intention of winning the individual to Christ. Only God can change hearts but as Christians, we don't know who He's going to change and we are called to be faithful to share the good news of the Gospel with those who don't know Jesus. Prior to hearing the good news, one must first hear the bad news which is that they have fallen short of God's standard (Romans 3:23), are guilty of breaking God's law (James 2:10), and can only be reconciled to God through His perfect, holy son Jesus. Romans 10:17 states that hearing comes through the word of Christ. If we who call ourselves Christians are fostering friendships without being faithful to share about the hope we have in Christ, we aren't being true friends. I would even dare to say that we are holding peoples hands as they walk toward hell. I can't say that Rachel is doing this because I don't know her heart. However, I am deeply concerned by the lack of biblical truth used to support the way she encourages women to cultivate friendships and community.As I approached the final chapters of Girl, Wash Your Face, I was disappointed to read about how Rachel takes the glory for her achievements (rather than giving glory to God) and encourages women to do the same. An example of this can be found in Chapter 20 in which she details how she was she was determined to complete a half marathon. Throughout this chapter, I observed a huge emphasis on the word "I" when it came to what Rachel accomplished and how she accomplished it. Like the rest of the book, there was no glory given to God for what she has achieved. This may seem like a trite observation but Christians are commanded and should desire to do everything for God's glory in light of what He has done on their behalf through Christ. On page 313 Rachel shares one of the greatest epiphanies of her adult life which is, "I don't need to find anyone. Right now, in this moment, I'm my own hero." On the same page, she continues to detail how she completed the half marathon and informs readers, "That was all me. And the things you've achieved? The big and little stuff. . . those are all you." Her pep talk continues onto page 314 in which she shares, "This is the truth. I ran an entire marathon with Philippians 4:13 written on my hand in Sharpie, and I believe that my Creator is the strength by which I achieve anything." This sounded like a turn in the right direction yet the next sentence states, "But God, your partner, your mama, and your best friends - none of them can make you into something (good or bad) without your help." Yikes. Since God created us, and the earth is His and everything in it, it logically and biblically follows that He most certainly does not need our help. Overall, the autobiographical aspects of Girl, Wash Your Face were interesting to read but the poor, unbiblical advice offered within its pages far outweighs any benefits one might find in reading this book. Ladies, this book is popular because it offers advice that sounds good but we must ask ourselves, "Is it true?" Since this book isn't biblically sound, its general advice and approach to Christianity are actually harmful and deceptive. We are called to love God not only with our hearts but also with our minds. I hope that knowing how this popular "Christian" book compares to what the Bible actually says will encourage you to seek after knowing who God is according to Scripture. My heart is not so much, "Don't read this book," as it is, "Do read your Bible." I received Girl, Wash Your Face compliments of Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review.
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I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this self-book since I didn’t know anything about Rachel Hollis. In the first few chapters she shares how she overcame her long time addiction with soda and that’s when I really started thinking this book was going to be good for me, as giving up soda is something I personally struggle with.

Rachel openly discusses her shortcomings at home and in her marriage in the book and it instantly makes you like her. She discusses how she was a workaholic, she would give all she had until she had nothing left for herself or her family(I can totally relate). Chapters walks through her rejections, shortcomings and life setbacks that have molded who she is and what’s made her stronger.

Each of Rachel’s chapters describes “a lie” she at one point believed about her life, for example; I’m just not a good mother or I’ll never be a writer, and she goes on to undo that “lie” with a more accurate, positive belief.

Her writing is honest, upbeat, and at times very funny with her lighthearted confessions. One one chapter she admits to having had a celebrity crush on Matt Damon when she was much younger, even and jokingly shares her thoughts that they would one day marry. Haven’t we all? 🤣

I think this is a great book for any struggling mother(that’s all of us) in need of a positive boost, and some refreshing ways to rethink our life!
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This book was inspiring and straightforward.  I finished it within 24 hours of starting it, which is unusual for me.  I enjoyed the author's voice, the set-up of the book, and the various intensely personal anecdotes.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
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This book kept me in tune with everything she said.  I could identify with what she said.  I can now start applying the things she said to my own life.  A must read for every woman.
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There were a lot of things that I loved about this book — the first thirty percent of it was full of insight and wisdom and I felt myself relating and drawing parallels to my own life. Her struggles with vertigo and being a workaholic struck a cord with me. But then as the book went on, it started to drag. I still saw ah-ha moments of insight but there were long sections that I had to push through reading. There’s an anecdote about the importance of owning a Louis Vuitton purse and how that was a worthy goal to have that ultimately seemed to contradict other messages in her book. I think that was a big issue I had — the message was internally contradictory a lot. For example: Be happy where you are v. Keep on dreaming impossible dreams. Even after the author’s claims of self-actualization, that one of her ultimate goals is to own a vacation house in Hawaii seems hollow and at odds with her overall message.

But all that being said, there were still some substantive, gut-punch chapters in the latter half of the book. The chapters regarding her brother and her adoption struggles were real and raw. I wish there had been more of that. 

I do think I ended this book better than when I began it, which is always the mark of reading something special. While this book wasn’t as excellent as I hoped it would be, it was still good and still something I recommend reading for an additional perspective. Ultimately, I think we’re all trying to answer the perennial question of how to be happy. Hollis’ book doesn’t really bring any earth-shattering revelations to the table, but she is relatable for the most part and does have some great insights peppered through this book..

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Pretty funny, honest and needed to hear stuff! I definitely recommend this book to empower women! I listened to it on audible and her narration was awesome!
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I found this book to be just okay. There seemed to be a lot of hype around it in the late 20's early 30's female book realm, but I just could not personally get that into it. I think the author,  Rachel Hollis is witty and has some funny stories of her past, but it didn't speak to me in the way it apparently has for so may others. I think this may be something to come back to at some point to read, and maybe I will get more out of it then.
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This was on ok book.  Some points in the book it was interesting and fun and then others boring.  Just another uplifting book that really does not improve your life.
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I thought Girl, Wash Your Face was a “right in your face” self-help novel loaded with raw honesty and ironic humor. I loved the realistic issues and problems Rachel shared, and her humble down-to-earth confessions of her not-so-perfect life are what kept me going. I could absolutely relate to so much in this novel, and her advice not only makes sense, but she presented achievable solutions. I love her sense of humor and her approach on how to talk to her audience! I thought it was funny and original and I am a new fan of Rachel (I had not heard of her before reading this)!
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This is a great book, its one that i will have my daughters read when they are older. It helps you focus on yourself in a good way, sometimes we put ourselves last and we dont even realize we are doing it because as wives, mothers, daughters, etc we always put someone else first.
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Literally one of the best personal development books I’ve ever read. Rachel gets REAL and gets raw- without proselytizing - she speaks from her heart and some chapters I felt like I had a girlfriend on my couch with a glass of wine sharing what she’s learned.
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Such a good book!  I read it within two days.   It's so empowering!!  I highly recommend reading this one.
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After hearing about this book constantly on Facebook, I had to check it out. I thought I would love it. But to be honest, I'm on the fence about this one. While I appreciate the author's reason for this 240 page pep talk and her candid approach, I can't fully put my support behind this book. I don't feel like this should be marketed as a Christian book. The book is quite contradictory at times. For instance, early on in the book, Rachel Hollis talks constantly about drinking wine and cocktails and even advises the reader to drink wine as a treat or even a coping mechanism. Yet later on in the book, Rachel goes into detail about her drinking problem. I feel like unstable, searching readers could get the wrong idea by this advice. Alcohol is a drug and it is so addictive. It should never be used as a way to relieve stress because it is so easy to abuse. 

I did like parts of the book, particularly the chapter on being a new mom where Rachel says this: 

"The God who made the moon and the stars and the mountains and the oceans, the Creator who did all of those things , believed that you and your baby were meant to be a pair. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be a perfect fit. That doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes . It does mean that you need not fear failure because you can’t fail a job you were created to do."

I did find Rachel's book to be like a conversation with a friend. We don't see eye to eye about everything and there are many blushworthy moments included in this read, but I did find some noteworthy information. I do think this should not be published as a Christian book, however, because it is quite misleading. I would not be able to teach or attend a Bible study on this book at my church without feeling conflicted, which led me to this opinion. Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book! These opinions are all my own.
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Rachel Hollis hadn't been anywhere on my radar until I started seeing this book all over the place. Each chapter addresses a lie that Hollis once believed and how she overcame that lie. I think everyone will be able to identify with at least one of those lies and will find the hope and encouragement they need to help them work through that lie. This is a beautiful, important book and is one that you will want to savor and work through. I have enjoyed it so much that I'm actually going back through and reading it again. (I never do that!)

****Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an Advanced Copy of this title. ****
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So.. this book. The cover and title caught my eye on NetGalley and it sounded kind of interesting, but I've been trying to only request books I REALLY want to read so I passed on it. But then I saw a couple of people highly recommend it online, so I went back like a month later and downloaded it. I am so sorry about how long this review is going to be, but....arrrrgh.

This is one of those instances where judging by how the author writes, I'm supposed to know who she is? But starting out, I have zero clue. I eventually learn that she's a lifestyle blogger, but... dude. I've been in this blogging thing since 1999, so I've seen more "famous" bloggers come and go than I can even begin to count, and bloggers with followers in the bazillions are a dime a dozen now. Given the "you probably think this and that about me" tone, I'm guessing the intended audience is mostly her blog readers, not the public at large?

I looked this up on Amazon to get the link for this post fairly early on in reading it, and noticed that 94% of its almost 3,000 reviews are 5 stars. Am I the only one that gets a little suspicious about that kind of thing? I mean, even Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (which is obviously the best one in the series) only has 76% five star ratings. I later learned that the author promised to reply to anyone who left a review and sent her a screenshot of it, so out of 300k Instagram followers, it totally makes sense that 1% were happy to type up some lavish praise in exchange for a message from someone they like following. (I read through a LOT of reviews to try to figure out what the hype was. I do find it amusing that most of the two and three star ones said it was either too religious or not religious enough.)

Overall, I was pretty "meh" on the book. The topics are kind of all over the place, it often feels more like a memoir than a self-improvement book (and a lot of her personal life stories seem pointless and mundane), and while the author seems to try to be relatable by sharing her "flaws" and referring to readers as "girl" and "sister" (?), she's just... not. At one point she describes getting Bell's palsy, which temporarily paralyzes part of her face, while on vacation in Paris. She literally says, "I've never felt sorrier for myself than in that moment" to describe when she was getting her photo taken in front of the Eiffel Tower because she had to wear sunglasses and couldn't smile normally. I don't know about y'all, but the most "poor me" moments of my life have totally been on multi-country European vacations, too.  (I learned from reading reviews that her husband used to be a Disney exec, so... they're doing pretty okay in the dollars department. I feel like authors in that category often don't understand how impractical their life advice might seem to other 99% of the population, and how we might be less impressed by your successes knowing how many huge advantages you had that helped you achieve them.)

I think that the main problem with books written by bloggers or YouTubers is that they have so many people who comment on everything they post saying how brilliant and perfect and inspirational they are that they begin to, at least on some level, truly believe it. Most people with even a moderate following can Instagram a picture of their morning coffee and get a hundred, "OMG I want to be you, you're so perfect." comments. Most chapters felt like she just wasn't qualified to be offering advice on the topic she was covering. (The chapter on diversity is cringe-worthy, and the chapter on fitness is horrifying. She refers to losing weight as, "literally the easiest thing in the world." Did you guys know that you just need to burn more calories than you consume? That's it!)

She writes about how raw it feels to share with the book's readers about things like the way she allowed herself to be treated in her first relationship (before the guy magically became awesome overnight and she wound up marrying him?), but the unhealthy relationship that it's so embarrassing to write about? Sounds like almost any 19-year old's first relationship. Of course you did stupid things to try to make sure he liked you - you were a teenager who had never been on a date! So many of the stories in the book are along those lines - completely un-noteworthy. Things you'd probably tell your best friend about when they happened, but not at all the kind of thing you'd still be talking about years later.

Overall, I think this would have been much better off as a memoir with a bit of "inspiration" mixed in than an attempt at giving advice. A good self improvement or motivational book is about the reader, while this is 95% about the author and 5% "You can, too!" Since the writing is clearly aimed at people who are already fans of hers, I think it would have been just as successful in sales if it was written as a memoir and could have avoided the "let me tell you how to live despite having zero qualification to do so" thing. Also might be better if she'd picked a side on it being a religious book or not, since as I mentioned above she seemed to annoy people on both sides by trying to straddle that line.

Again, sorry for the novel of a review, but the inflated ratings make me want to put a truly honest review out there to balance things out a tiny bit. I read a bunch of 1-3 star reviews that were like, "I saw that this was a bestseller and got amazing reviews so I bought it... am I the only person that doesn't understand the hype?" I'm not trying to be harsh or look down on anyone who DID love it and got inspiration from it. That's awesome. I just want to save others who get a few chapters in and start thinking, "This isn't great. What am I missing? Everyone else seems to love it, it must get way better." from wasting precious dollars and reading hours. I didn't hate it, and some chapters were interesting to read, but it's not the masterpiece that reviews seem to imply.

A note unrelated to the actual book: I will *never* request a title from this publisher again, because someone thought it was a great idea to put notes about the ARC being copyrighted material in the middle of the text on EVERY SINGLE PAGE. Advance copies generally have a note about it being an uncorrected proof and not quoting the text without checking the final copy at the very beginning of the book, but I've never seen one have anything after that, let alone on literally every page. To make it worse, something got messed up in the formatting so instead of "DO NOT DUPLICATE", in the middle of a random sentence you'd have the word NOT (which often made me think the author was being sarcastic) and then in the middle of the next line, "DO DUPLICATE". It's impossible to get into a book when you're trying to read a sentence and you get yelled at by caps lock words on LITERALLY EVERY PAGE.

Before now, my biggest pet peeve for ARCs was when the publisher didn't at least give it a perfunctory run through Grammarly or something before releasing it into the world to thousands of reviewers, but this was so, so much worse. Imagine going to a movie and someone's phone blaring the original Nokia ringtone every two minutes. At first you're like "Wow, that's annoying, but surely they'll fix it soon?" but then no. Every two minutes. It rings during the quiet, sad moment. It rings during the hero's dramatic monologue. You seriously consider just walking out of the theater after 20 minutes (or in my case, after 5% of the book), but you want to at least try to see what happens. Still, you can only put like 70% of your energy, at best, on trying to concentrate on the plot, because the other 30% of your brain is busy plotting ways to kill the idiot with the phone set to super loud ringer.

And it's not like this is a new Harry Potter book or something. I've seen a couple of people mention it online, but it's not a book with big hype. Chill, publisher dudes. Nobody was considering duplicating it. Judging by other ARC reviews I saw on NetGalley, they just annoyed the hell out of reviewers (and probably caused a TON of people to give up on trying to read it) for no reason. Uggggh.
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This book is amazing. I wish every woman had the opportunity to read the uplifting and empowering words of Rachel Hollis. I will be giving several of these to friends because I think it is so important for us, as women, to lift each other up. If you are hard on yourself or simply need to focus on positive aspects, grab this book!
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First off, I want to give NetGalley and Thomas Nelson/Nelson Books a huge thank you for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

I have heard so much hype about this book, so I was really excited to dig into the read. I am a fan of the self help genre- especially those of today with a strong feminist feel. I thought this was going to be another favorite to add to my shelves.

As Hollis writes, each chapter begins with a lie that she has told herself, and then she reveals how that lie came about and how she tackled the issue to prove it untrue, or how she changed her mindset. These topics are geared towards women, so the issues such as motherhood, careers, and body image are addressed. In each chapter, Hollis shares her struggles with conviction and candor, allowing the reader a peek behind the mogul's privacy curtain. See, Hollis has built a large successful following through her event and media company that aims at making a working woman's life a little easier. So it's easy to think that Hollis has it all together- but as she explains throughout her book, she has her own weak areas too. Overall, her goal is to relate and join women together to make their lives better and allow them to live their best lives.

I admire the sentiments of Hollis' book, but I have a lot of issues with her personal beliefs that don't align with my own. Hollis is deeply religious, with two generations of preachers in her lineage (her father and grandfather). What I kept thinking throughout the novel was that I was being preached to, which sounds like the author may come by naturally. To me, preaching isn't the same as encouraging, though that might be a fine line only I notice. I think religion has wonderful power to help people come together and uplift each other, to give them a guide for an honest living... but I have also seen it be twisted for political and social agendas. So, when I feel preached to, it's a turn off. I also found it slightly annoying that used Hollis used endearments- girl, sister, etc- in her writing, and thought they came off like she was trying too hard. Trying to put those aside, I tried to take note of the underlying messages Hollis discussed, and found myself agreeing with a few things, such as this:

    "Someone else's opinion of you is none of your business."

This is so valid, and I'm glad she repeats herself because at first, I translated it as, don't listen to anyone's opinion of you...but it really translates to, don't seek other's opinions of you. You should have enough confidence in yourself and not seek compliments or criticisms to boost confidence. You don't need to know what others think of you in order to form an opinion about yourself. Throughout her book, Hollis makes some strong arguments and backs them up with good advice like this.

But, then I ended up thinking about her overall message: Bettering yourself. I know she isn't suggesting perfectionism- in fact, she explains she's far from it- but Hollis is constantly stating how we women can better ourselves. I want to know- aside from ourselves, who do we need to be better for? Why can't we be happy with who we are? Even more crazy- what if we already ARE happy, or on some level of happiness? See, this is where I started to question some of her advice in this book- where bias and personal beliefs were used as rational in Hollis' recommendations. For example, Hollis states this about health, revealing a thin-stigma (which I'm not sure she realized as such):

    "You need to be healthy. You don’t need to be thin. You don’t need to be a certain size or shape or look good in a bikini. You need to be able to run without feeling like you’re going to puke. You need to be able to walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded. You need to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every single day. You need to stretch and get good sleep and stop medicating every ache and pain. You need to stop filling your body with garbage like Diet Coke and fast food and lattes that are a million and a half calories. You need to take in fuel for you body that hasn't been processed and fuel for you mind that is positive and encouraging. You need to get up off the sofa or out of the bed and move around. Get out of the fog that you have been living in and see your life for what it is.” 

Here's the thing- not all fat bodies are unhealthy. Sometimes, people have issues that lead them to carry more weight, and yes, some carry weight because they indulge in food. But that doesn't make them lazy. That doesn't mean they only eat "garbage foods". And it certainly doesn't mean they aren't living in a fog and not enjoying their life. Especially in light of the body-positive movements, these sentiments are very conflicting to what women have been fighting for.

In conclusion, I don't think that Girl, Wash Your Face was a home-run for me because I was very on-the-fence about liking it. As I said, there were parts that I could certainly agree with, I enjoyed the memoir aspects, and I think parts are a great kick in the pants for those who need it, but I had a hard time blocking out that information that I found biased by personal beliefs and conflicting from my own. 

(This review will be posted at a later date on my blog:
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I'm sure the author did not intend for her guidance to come off as condescending, yet it does. I know her intentions her are positive, and many women have been empowered by this book, it just isn't for me.  I appreciate the author's intent and am glad that the message has reached its intended audience. I have received similar messages from other writers without it feeling as redundant and borderline hostile. I found the writing to be dull and repetitive, almost as if the author is addressing an audience she finds incapable of understanding the concepts of kindness and gratitude.
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