Author: Rachel Hollis
Trigger Warnings: Christianity
Read To: CD 1 of 6
Founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Chic Media, Rachel Hollis has created an online fan base of hundreds of thousands of fans by sharing tips for living a better life while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own. Now comes her highly anticipated first book featuring her signature combination of honesty, humor, and direct, no-nonsense advice.
Each chapter of Girl, Wash Your Face begins with a specific lie Hollis once believed that left her feeling overwhelmed, unworthy, or ready to give up. As a working mother, a former foster parent, and a woman who has dealt with insecurities about her body and relationships, she speaks with the insight and kindness of a BFF, helping women unpack the limiting mind-sets that destroy their self-confidence and keep them from moving forward.
From her temporary obsession with marrying Matt Damon to a daydream involving hypnotic iguanas to her son’s request that she buy a necklace to “be like the other moms,” Hollis holds nothing back. With unflinching faith and tenacity, Hollis spurs other women to live with passion and hustle and to awaken their slumbering goals.
I went into this with low expectations. I had it on my reading list because it sounded pretty good, but then someone told me the author didn’t look past her wealthy white privilege and most of the advice wasn’t very good. I decided to read it anyway, though, because I liked The Happiness Project and that was also written from that privileged perspective. Besides, it’s tackling lies we tell ourselves, how bad could it be?
So bad. So, so bad.
I stopped a little way into chapter three. Here’s a brief summary of what I got through:
Introduction: I have flaws, I swear! My life is not perfect! Even though I own my own media company and sometimes go to the Academy Awards, I’m honest about my problems! Why, just last week I posted a picture of my belly with stretch marks!
Chapter one: I have flaws, I swear! My life is not perfect! Why, just the other day I had some bladder leakage! Here are a few fortune cookie quotes about life with no practical application.
Chapter two: I have flaws, I swear! My life is not perfect! Why, sometimes I snap at my husband and sometimes my kids argue! But I’m always really good at doing what I say I’m going to do. Here are a few fortune cookie quotes about life with no practical application.
Chapter three: I have flaws, I swear! My life is not perfect! Why, when I work too hard at my dream job I get a physical ailment from stress that makes me self-conscious! (I stopped before it got to the fortune cookie quotes.)
The main theme that Rachel states is that your life is solely your responsibility and anything you have a problem with is your fault. (I’m not even going to unpack how much privilege is in that statement.) The main theme that comes through in the writing is that Hollis is desperate to convince people that just because she’s so much better than them doesn’t mean she’s perfect. She’s #relatable, guys!
She’s not even a good writer. Each of the chapters is titled after a “lie we tell ourselves,” but she never actually addresses the lie, just provides story after poorly-told story of her own life that don’t even try to relate to the “lie.” She tries so hard to have a unique voice that it just feels gimicky and contrived. And her “advice” is mostly useless platitudes of the sort you’d find in pretty script fonts on Pinterest. There’s no practical tips. Chapter two talks about doing the things you say you’re going to do (like working out), and her advice for doing that? Do it. That’s literally it. She hypes up “keeping promises to yourself” and then never actually gives any advice for how to do that. Even Better than Before gave some practical advice!
I keep comparing this book to Gretchen Rubin’s books, mainly because the authors are very similar in my mind. They’re both wealthy white women who wrote self-help books on how to be happier that are actually all about them. The main difference: Gretchen is actually a good writer. I think if Rachel was a decent writer and there was something actually actionable in this book, I’d be giving a review similar to The Happiness Project – more along the lines of “the writer is privileged but it was a pretty enjoyable book.” But as I started on chapter three of Girl, Wash your Face, the only thing I could think was, “If I was an editor, I’d have rejected this book already.”