Book Review: Counting the Cost by Jill Duggar

 My review of Counting the Cost by Jill Duggar.

Title: Counting the Cost

By: Jill Duggar

Genre: Memoir/Non-fiction

Pages: 287

Release Date: September 12th, 2023

Publisher: Gallery Books

Rating: ★★★☆☆


Summary from Goodreads:

For the first time, discover the unedited truth about the Duggars, the traditional Christian family that captivated the nation on TLC’s hit show 19 Kids and Counting. Jill Duggar and her husband Derick are finally ready to share their story, revealing the secrets, manipulation, and intimidation behind the show that remained hidden from their fans.

Jill and Derick knew a normal life wasn’t possible for them. As a star on the popular TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting, Jill grew up in front of viewers who were fascinated by her family’s way of life. She was the responsible, second daughter of Jim Bob and Michelle’s nineteen kids; always with a baby on her hip and happy to wear the modest ankle-length dresses with throat-high necklines. She didn’t protest the strict model of patriarchy that her family followed, which declares that men are superior, that women are expected to be wives and mothers and are discouraged from attaining a higher education, and that parental authority over their children continues well into adulthood, even once they are married.

But as Jill got older, married Derick, and they embarked on their own lives, the red flags became too obvious to ignore. For as long as they could, Jill and Derick tried to be obedient family members — they weren’t willing to rock the boat. But now they’re raising a family of their own, and they’re done with the secrets. Thanks to time, tears, therapy, and blessings from God, they have the strength to share their journey. Theirs is a remarkable story of the power of the truth and is a moving example of how to find healing through honesty.


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This book has been really hard for me to unpack. On one hand, I want to have sympathy for Jill Duggar and all the terrible manipulation and abuse she went through, but on the other hand, every time she opens her mouth, its like she didn't learn anything and is now a willing participant in her own abuse.

I do understand the teachings of the church. I grew up learning where I stood as a woman in the Christian church, and I also know how hard it is to break free from those teachings once you know better, but knowing better and actively learning to heal are two separate things.

What this book made me feel, was anger and rage and I hated that feeling. I really hated it.

Favorite Quote:
“Getting out cost us, but it was worth it. It was worth it to find freedom from the guilt and the fear.”

I could only give this book 3 stars. Usually, when a book makes me feel emotions, I welcome them with open arms, but this one didn't make me feel right.

I wish all the best to Jill Duggar and her siblings and I hope they find the healing they long for.

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