Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

I almost stopped reading after the introduction. I almost stopped reading after chapter 1. I almost gave up on Rachael Hollis entirely. But there was just enough of something to make me not only finish, but finish in a day. Maybe I had no plans that day? Maybe I wanted it over quickly?

Rachael Hollis is a thirty-something blogger, speaker, mom, wife, Christian, event planner, and now book author. She released Girl, Wash Your Face in 2018 and quickly followed it up with a sequel Girl, Stop Apologizing in 2019.

Each of the 20 chapters are titled by a lie that Hollis has told herself: “I’m not good enough”, “I will never get past this”, “I don’t know how to be a mom.” She delves into her history of self-doubt and insecurity to show her growth and ability to overcome each lie. Intimate personal details and embarrassing stories bring levity and humor.

The 240 page book reads like a blog or maybe even a dictation of a chatty girlfriend overtaking the brunch conversation with stories of her picture-perfect life. Breezy and colloquial, this is a quick read.

Topics of discussion include religion, family planning, friends, health, and the overall theme of taking responsibility for your own life. You are the only one who runs your life. Hollis is motivating throughout and pushes the idea that her life’s goal is to help others. She paints a picture of childhood trauma, professional failures, love-life debacles, and the challenges of motherhood. Each topic is well-suited to the theme of the book so they fit together in a pleasing way. While not every topic is related to my personal life, I think every reader will find at least one chapter that resonates.

Hollis is blunt and a little too self-aware. Her desperate pleas to the audience scream out– Validate me. Notice me. Love me. As a taciturn individual, Hollis came off as overwhelming. Too much personal information that I honestly didn’t need to know put in there for the sheer shock value: peeing her pants, shaving her toes, or proclaiming she is bad at sex. Some may say this adds to the charm, but it was the one major downside for me. Maybe growing up a preacher’s daughter brought out her speech-making, sermonizing demeanor. 

All in all, this is a self-help book aimed at motivating the reader. There are words of encouragement delivered with buoyancy and happiness. She wants you to change your life for the better, just like she did. She asks the reader to question whether they can do better, and if they can do better, then it is their obligation to do better.

Girl, Wash Your Face is a book I had seen on my library’s recommended e-book page for nearly two years. It grew in popularity and made its rounds through social media sites (this is fitting as she has over 1 million followers). I’m not sure why I waited so long to pick up this bestseller, but I’m glad I did. Rachael isn’t someone I’d want to be best friends with, but that’s not the point. She opens up emotionally to let her readers know that it’s ok to be human. It’s ok to fail. But you must take responsibility for your life. For your successes. Give this light read a chance and maybe you’ll relate to a chapter or two in a way you didn’t know you needed.

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