Growing Up Duggar: It’s All About Relationships is by Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar, the four oldest girls in a family of nineteen children. These stars of TLC’s popular reality show, 19 Kids & Counting, share never-before told stories of growing up in the Duggar household and offer readers a closer look at who they are and what they really believe in their first book.
As the subtitle indicates, the theme of this book is relationships, and each chapter focuses on a different one: relationship with yourself, your parents, your siblings, friends, guys, culture, your country and the world. The girls chose not to have a separate chapter on your relationship with God because that is fundamental, not in addition, to every other relationship.
The first chapter covers your relationships with yourself. Jessa shares about a time when she continually compared herself to others and felt she didn’t measure up. “I had friends who were really beautiful, and whenever we were together I compared myself to them and always came up lacking something.”She goes on to tell how she learned there are ten unchangeable things that we each must accept about ourselves, and that when we reject ourselves we ultimately reject God’s creation.
Known for their conservative views, the Duggars harbor plenty of questions about their views on dating. Disagreeing with society’s norm of casual dating, the family follows a practice called courtship, or dating with a purpose. Several principles of courtship are shared, such as getting to know someone in real-life settings: “Getting to know the special young man we’re interested in within a family setting is one of the biggest differences in dating and courtship. . . . We want to see how he reacts to normal family events.” Then, after sharing some of the character qualities the girls look for in potential life partners, older brother Josh and his wife of five years, Anna, share their courtship story.
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Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger wrote this book to help answer some of the many questions they receive from curious fans in letters and emails, and to empower, hopefully, readers to use their own lives to benefit others. With a ministry schedule longer than even their tv show seems to evidence, these girls are sure to inspire readers to make a difference in the world themselves.
Both thought-provoking and entertaining with stories of the younger kids’ antics, I found this book an enjoyable read and would recommend it, along with the Duggar parents’ books The Duggars: 20 & Counting and A Love That Multiples, both to those who have just heard of this family and are curious, and to long-time fans.