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BOOK REVIEW: Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis

| 1 May 2020 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis

HarperCollins Focus
April 2019
Paperback, $28.99
Reviewed by Natalie Salvo

Non-Fiction Books / Self-Help & Personal Development

50% Rocking

In some ways it feels like Girl, Stop Apologizing is a book everyone should read. There is nothing wrong with harnessing traits like: confidence, persistence, and positivity. But there are moments where this tome overpromises because it fails to acknowledge that there are many external obstacles and forces that can hold you back. So while there may be diamonds amongst this rough, it should be warned that some of these are little more than costume jewellery.

The worst thing I can imagine is that you might die with that potential still untapped inside of you. And so I wrote this book of the former Demi Lovato title, as encouragement, as a field guide, and also as the wind that fans the flames of what your what if spark so that it turns into a wildfire.
Because the world needs your spark. The world needs your energy. The world needs you to show up for your life and take hold of your potential!

There is no question that Rachel Hollis is a fascinating case study because she is a self-made media empire. She had humble beginnings with her blog, The Chic Site, and hustled her way to the top. She is now the owner of a company and a podcast, and she’s a media personality who employs staff. She is the bestselling author of Girl, Wash Your Face and a proud mother of four. This gorgeous woman sells the idea that we can all have, and achieve it all. She projects an image of being busy and successful at every opportunity. It almost comes across as condescending at times because it’s like: “Look at me, I’m so wonderful!”

I get so many requests you guys. You can’t even imagine the amount of emails asking for mentorship, advice, non-profit support, and product endorsements flooding my inbox on the regular…I didn’t know how to say no, because I felt a responsibility to give back and show up for others.

There are moments where reading this text feels like reading your horoscope. Hollis has constructed it to be engaging and personable, just like a girlfriend talking to another close buddy. Her tone is casual and conversational, and littered with pop culture references. But in reality, she’s just writing generally, so that it resonates with the maximum number of people possible.

We need you to live into your purpose. We need you to create and inspire and build and dream. We need you to blaze a trail and then turn around and light the way with your magic so other women can follow behind you. We need you to believe in the idea that every kind of woman deserves a chance to be who she was meant to be, and she may never realize it if you—yes, you—don’t speak the truth into your life.

The pressing question is: “Is any of this advice actually rooted in reality?” Can working class people access the same privileges as Hollis in order to attain their dreams? How about people of colour and those with disabilities? Granted, it’s not Hollis’ job to solve the injustices of the world, but it is naïve and misguided to think that tough problems can be solved with such simple advice.

If life feels out of control, start taking control with your immediate [home] environment.
I know there are people reading this who don’t have a home, who don’t have access to everything, who have one tiny square surrounded by a sea of chaos. To you, I’d say, take care of the spaces that are yours, be that your bed, your car, or your desk at work. Organize your life. Keep your spaces clean. Put some effort into their appearances. These things are about self-respect and about setting a certain standard for yourself, for your life, for your children. That doesn’t cost money. Self-respect doesn’t cost anything other than effort. Clean up.

This book is divided into three sections, which focus on the excuses we make, and those useful behaviours and skills that are required to overcome. Notwithstanding, there are some good bits buried in here, but let’s not forget that some of this stuff is plain common sense. Meanwhile, other parts read like Pop Psychology 101, though there are few footnotes here and these fail to acknowledge the true origins of some of the ideas. Some people might think that Hollis came up with the bulk of this material and put her up on an even higher pedestal than she already puts herself on. That’s some dangerous territory.

A habit is a series of three things:
1. A cue
2. An action
3. A reward
A cue means that something happens. It’s a trigger for you. It signals to your brain that it’s time to start the action. Then, when you take the action (totally unconsciously, by the way), you’re given some type of reward. A cue, an activity, a reward.

If you’re stuck in a rut and want a quick read that may offer some good motiving tools then there are some merits to this book. But it’s also important to take a lot of this with a large grain of salt. Hollis’ image may be squeaky clean and perfect, but the reality is likely to be a lot more sobering. In one chapter for instance, she goes into a lot of detail to justify her breast implants. Yet, couldn’t it be argued that if she were so confident, she wouldn’t have to explain this personal decision in so much detail to people it really shouldn’t matter to?

It’s true. I did get a boob job…
So the twins went from little to big and then back again…But that weight meant that my boobs, which were already in a little bit of a sad state, became…nothing. I don’t mean that they were worn out. I don’t mean that they looked tired. I mean that there was nothing there, no filler, no cushion…
Honestly, I’m not one to wallow for long. I’m a fixer. And while I can’t fix everything, this was something I definitely could do something about. I decided I was going to have them lifted back up.

Girl, Stop Apologizing is designed to be a feel-good, no-nonsense self-help book about goals and dreams. And in some respects it delivers what it says on the tin, but should also come with some more sobering directions about the real world. So if you come to the Hollis party, focus on what feels right and true to you, and leave the unattainable guff to the fantasy realm.

Category: Book Reviews

About the Author ()

Natalie Salvo is a foodie and writer from Sydney. You can find her digging around in second hand book shops or submerged in vinyl crates at good record stores. Her website is at:

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