Author Glennon Doyle Melton recounts her ‘brutiful’ story
Glennon Doyle Melton is a breed all her own. And Love Warrior, a memoir about her journey through self-discovery and deconstruction following the collapse of her marriage, is—dare I say it?—groundbreaking. Yes, I’ll say it. Groundbreaking brings to mind the image of heavy machinery shattering a seemingly permanent, unbreakable ground. Glennon shows us this shattering of her love story in slow motion with the release of it into the world. She is taking off her safety glasses, clothed in the dust of the ruins, and telling us to begin there, at the beginning, from which everything is built.
Her voice alone—forget the hilarious and heart-rending truths she wrestles with throughout these pages—is a seashell through which we hear our own fleeting thoughts, however fearful, desperate, or forbidden they may be. Her words are the soothing hand on our backs that lets us know we are not alone in our mistakes or our detoured routes to happiness. In a way, her story reminds us that we are all staggering about, holding the unfinished maps of our lives in one hand and our too-big hearts in the other.
Love Warrior will take you to Glennon’s bottom, to depths so low it might be hard to breathe. There, you’ll maze through the unchartered territory and shipwreck of alcoholism, bulimia, premarital pregnancy, and an early abortion. You’ll witness the twisted ways that love and sex slip in and out of their own identities, furthering our confusion of how to be as a young adult and beyond.
Through Glennon’s raw account of her own life, she takes her readers step by step through her thought process along the way, exposing herself at every opportunity and sparing no details when it comes to navigating through her husband’s reveal of his infidelity—from the vantage point of a massive leather chair from which her feet cannot reach the floor inside a therapist’s office.
Where there is often white noise or breaks before new chapters, allowing the reader to resurface in a new situation on a new day, Glennon instead dives further into the heat, pressing onward to face the pain dead on. Her writing is an invitation to look at the things we mustn’t look at, shining a light into a crack of the underbelly that is the maze of marriage, love, and family.
Her faith throughout this story is a journey in and of itself, starting with her meeting of Mary—barefoot on a thick rug, just having hit rock bottom—to reaching for her daughter’s hand at a church that didn’t welcome real men and women as warmly as representatives of the institution. And perhaps that’s the quality that readers marvel at in Glennon—her truth-telling ability.
In this brutiful (brutal and beautiful—thanks, Glennon) and inspiring story, there aren’t as many lessons as there is common ground from which we all stand. Witnessing and harnessing the bravery and strength that is needed to make it through this life is the starting point, much like it was for Glennon. And it is through her words that we’ll find we were all born to be warriors for love, whether it be for our husbands, wives, children, friends or for ourselves.