Untamed is officially a customer favorite of the year—it’s been topping Amazon Charts since its publication. Glennon Doyle’s memoir is confessional. It’s liberating. It’s romantic. It has that sort of un-categorizable magic that strikes every so often in publishing. And that gorgeous jacket art doesn’t hurt. For those of you many, many readers who have devoured Untamed and have the underlined copy to show for it, below is a list of books that attempts to capture some of the magical threads woven together in this memoir.
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
Most readers know Strayed as the author of the mega-bestseller Wild, but she was also the once-anonymous advice columnist known as Sugar at The Rumpus. This book collects her best advice essays, and there’s something that will speak to everyone, no matter your woe. Tiny Beautiful Things may just be the next inspiring book that you underline to death. Like Doyle, Strayed won’t let you off easy, and that is a beautiful thing.
The Fixed Stars by Molly Wizenberg
If Wizenberg’s name isn’t familiar, please get thee to any book retailer and buy some of her previous work. A Seattle food world darling, Wizenberg—like Doyle—also wrote memoirs of her love for her former husband and the life (in all senses of the word) they created together. And like Doyle, one day Wizenberg found herself drawn to a woman she barely knew, even though she was married to a man with whom she had a young daughter. The upcoming Fixed Stars (Aug 4) explores sexual orientation, discovering one’s true self, and navigating a new way to be a family. Sound familiar?
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Really, any Gilbert book will do here. Eat, Pray, Love—while as outdated as Doyle’s Love Warrior—may give you the most Gilbert for your buck, but Big Magic is less Gilbert’s travel journal and more...Gilbert as friend and life coach. In this self-help book, Gilbert tackles what it means to live creatively, and how to embrace that without fear or guilt. It’s hard not to imagine Gilbert doling out some of this advice to Doyle in the writing of Untamed.
The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs
This book should come with a warning: may trigger extreme emotions, and crying. But if you can handle that, Riggs’ memoir of coming to terms with her own death is worth the tears. Like Doyle, Riggs is here to explore why she’s put on earth and how to make the most of it. Riggs is thirty-seven, happily married, and the mother to two young boys, when she is diagnosed with breast cancer. A year later, she learns her cancer is terminal. This book is so affecting that I still remember exactly where I was when I read it. Yes, it’s sad, perhaps even doubly so if you’re a mother. But it’s a wonderful reminder to cherish every day, a reminder many of us may find satisfying at this moment in history.
Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller
Miller was formerly known as Emily Doe, the anonymous woman who was sexually assaulted on the Stanford campus and whose victim impact statement was published on BuzzFeed and immediately went viral. Miller’s powerful memoir unveiled her identity, but it also reclaimed her name and her body. This may seem like an odd comparison to Untamed, but Doyle is no stranger to the male gaze. Her bulimia, her attempts to forgive her adulterous husband (and submit to him sexually), and her sadness at watching her own daughter compare herself to women on the covers of fashion magazines—these are all challenges to the body, to sexuality, and to what it means to be a “woman” in our society.
Educated by Tara Westover
Named the Amazon Editors’ Best Book of the Year So Far and Best Book of the Year in 2018, Educated is a fairly new addition to the Must Read Memoir canon. Westover grew up as the child of survivalists in rural Idaho, and fought hard for her own education. In the process, it cost her her family. This memoir reads like fiction, and makes it the perfect book for those who are just discovering they love memoirs, especially the inspirational sort.
Loved "Untamed"? Try one of our suggestions for your next read.