Growing Up Duggar: It’s All About Relationships is a book written by the four oldest girls of the Duggar family (from TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting) Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger. The book is divided into sections that deal with all different types of relationships. Relationship with self, relationships with parents, siblings, friends, boys, culture, and the world. Relationship with God permeates the whole book and provides foundation for much of their values, convictions, and beliefs. The girls wrote this book to reach out to and help other young girls with relationships and navigating life as a Christian in this world. Throughout the book they share with their readers the wisdom of their parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. They also tell many stories about what it’s like growing up in such a large family.
I was surprised to find that I actually really enjoyed reading this book. I am going to be honest and say that up until a friend asked me to read it I knew very little about the Duggars, and assumed they were crazy. However, after reading Growing Up Duggar I have a new opinion. This is a family who is totally focused on glorifying God and sharing His love with the world. I have a lot of respect for them and their willingness to put themselves before others in order to share the gospel. I also respect them for unashamedly following their convictions about what the Bible says is glorifying to God. However, while I agree with their convictions, I don’t necessarily agree with some of the ways they carry them out. At times, while reading the book I felt judged, like if I was to meet them they would think, “This girl calls herself a Christian?! She sure doesn’t dress like one!” just because I would probably be wearing pants instead of a skirt. I know that they most likely didn’t mean to come off as judgmental, but that’s the feeling I got. I guess what I’m saying is that in their lives and upbringing they seem to focus a lot on avoiding sin instead of living in the freedom of God’s grace.