Review: A Love That Multiplies by Michelle and JimBob Duggar

Title: A Love That Multiplies: An Up-Close View of How They Make it Work

Author: Michelle and JimBob Duggar

Published: Simon and Schuster June 2011 {ARC courtesy Simon and Schuster}

Synopsis: In this second book from the Duggars, they focus on the principles that equip them to face life’s challenges—drawing from their most recent challenge with the 3-month premature birth of their newest child, Josie. They also share the new challenges their older children are facing as they prepare for adult life. Central to the book is a section on the principles that the Duggars have consistently taught their children. These simply worded principles are basic to the Duggar family and are shared in a way that other parents can incorporate in their own homes. A special chapter on homeschooling gives valuable information to parents who are considering this route or are already invested in it. The world continues to be amazed by their nineteen well-groomed, well-behaved, well-schooled children and their home life, which focuses on family, financial responsibility, fun—and must importantly, faith. The Duggars show how parents can succeed whether they’re rearing a single child or several.

Status: Read on June 10, 2011 — I own a copy

My Thoughts:

I know only of the Duggar’s from an article printed some time ago in a magazine just before their 19th child, Josie was born prematurely. Like many others I was amazed at the size of their family and curious as to how they ‘make it work’. Their TV show isn’t on in Australia (as far as I know) so this book is really my introduction to the family.
A Love That Multiplies begins with the premature birth of Josie and its affect on the family, but also explains the principles and faith that Michelle and JimBob rely on to raise their children. As conservative Christians, the family have strict faith based guidelines for behaviour and attitude. I was expecting an austere fundamentalist approach in child rearing, but that is not the case at all. The Duggar’s enjoy a wide range of experiences and are encouraged to become part of the community. Michelle and JimBob both write about the hardships and joys involved in raising their family and share their perspectives of events. I found this alternating viewpoint difficult at times, the transition often seemed clumsy, indicated only by a bracketed name after the switch has already taken place. I couldn’t always tell who was narrating.
Still, its fascinating to be privy to the details of raising such a large family. The sheer work involved in homeschooling, cooking and caring for a family of 21 is mind boggling, yet the parents cope with admirable patience. That they support themselves, while still giving to others is honorable. The family is not perfect, Michelle speaks briefly of the irritations she experiences and the strain of Josie’s illness on her marriage. It’s sort of glossed over but I appreciate the acknowledgement that they are not immune from worldly frustrations.
While I don’t share their intense faith, I was able to look past the passionate preaching and admire their underlying principles of child rearing – consistency, respect, love, encouragement, support and joy. These basic tenets are ones I am raising my own four children with but these messages are at risk at being buried under the avalanche of scripture quotes and religious praise. The Duggars are open about their desire to spread their faith and God’s word, but as an agnostic I skimmed the evangelicalism. I think it would appeal to less enthusiastic believers more if the Duggars shared more concrete descriptions of their interactions with their children as the subtitle implies.
A Love That Multiplies is an interesting peek into the Duggars life, I admire their commitment to each other and genuine wish to raise a loving and caring family. I’ve struggled with choosing a rating for the book though. As mentioned I feel the structure is clumsy, which did not make for an easy reading experience in the electronic ARC version I had access to. On reflection, I also feel that the book is light on practical content and provides only a glimpse of the workings of this huge family, but perhaps this is more fully detailed in their previous book and television show. I am going to go with 2 and a half stars.

Available to Purchase

@ Amazon

@ Book Depository

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Theresa
    Jun 17, 2011 @ 09:53:18

    Love this family. I wish they were on TV here in Australia but are available through Youtube. Can’t wait to read this book.

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