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The Duggars: 20 and Counting!: Raising One of America's Largest Families—How They Do It

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This practical, positive book reveals the many parenting strategies that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar use as they preside over America’s best-known mega-family. Each time a new baby arrives, the press from around the world clamors for interviews and information. Visitors are amazed to find seventeen (baby number eighteen is due January 1, 2009) well-groomed, well-behaved, we This practical, positive book reveals the many parenting strategies that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar use as they preside over America’s best-known mega-family. Each time a new baby arrives, the press from around the world clamors for interviews and information. Visitors are amazed to find seventeen (baby number eighteen is due January 1, 2009) well-groomed, well-behaved, well-schooled children in a home that focuses on family, financial responsibility, fun—and must importantly, faith. Readers will learn about the Duggars’ marriage—how they communicate effectively, make family decisions, and find quality time alone. They’ll discover how the Duggars manage to educate all their children at home, while providing experiences that go beyond the family walls, through vacations and educational trips. And they’ll see how the Duggar family manages their finances and lives debt-free—even when they built their own 7,000-square-foot house. Answering the oft asked question—How can I do with one or two children what you do with seventeen(soon to be eighteen)?—Jim Bob and Michelle reveal how they create a warm and welcoming home filled with what Michelle calls “serene chaos.” They show how other parents can succeed whether they’re rearing a single child or several. With spiritual insights, experience-based wisdom, practical tips, and plenty of humorous and tender anecdotes, the Duggars answer the questions that pour into the family’s Web site on a daily basis—especially after every national media interview and TV appearance—including their segments on the Discovery Health Channel’s “Meet the Duggars” series.


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This practical, positive book reveals the many parenting strategies that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar use as they preside over America’s best-known mega-family. Each time a new baby arrives, the press from around the world clamors for interviews and information. Visitors are amazed to find seventeen (baby number eighteen is due January 1, 2009) well-groomed, well-behaved, we This practical, positive book reveals the many parenting strategies that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar use as they preside over America’s best-known mega-family. Each time a new baby arrives, the press from around the world clamors for interviews and information. Visitors are amazed to find seventeen (baby number eighteen is due January 1, 2009) well-groomed, well-behaved, well-schooled children in a home that focuses on family, financial responsibility, fun—and must importantly, faith. Readers will learn about the Duggars’ marriage—how they communicate effectively, make family decisions, and find quality time alone. They’ll discover how the Duggars manage to educate all their children at home, while providing experiences that go beyond the family walls, through vacations and educational trips. And they’ll see how the Duggar family manages their finances and lives debt-free—even when they built their own 7,000-square-foot house. Answering the oft asked question—How can I do with one or two children what you do with seventeen(soon to be eighteen)?—Jim Bob and Michelle reveal how they create a warm and welcoming home filled with what Michelle calls “serene chaos.” They show how other parents can succeed whether they’re rearing a single child or several. With spiritual insights, experience-based wisdom, practical tips, and plenty of humorous and tender anecdotes, the Duggars answer the questions that pour into the family’s Web site on a daily basis—especially after every national media interview and TV appearance—including their segments on the Discovery Health Channel’s “Meet the Duggars” series.

30 review for The Duggars: 20 and Counting!: Raising One of America's Largest Families—How They Do It

  1. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    5/22/15: Updating this in light of the fact the oldest son molested his sisters. Love all the people who offered to pray for me. 8/4/10 NOTE: Although I stand by my review of this book, I do want to point out that it was written long before Michelle Duggar gave birth to a preemie ... and long before *I* gave birth to a preemie. Her 25-weeker was born just two years or so after MY 25-weeker, and having such a public representation of what I went through admittedly made me feel a connection to the 5/22/15: Updating this in light of the fact the oldest son molested his sisters. Love all the people who offered to pray for me. 8/4/10 NOTE: Although I stand by my review of this book, I do want to point out that it was written long before Michelle Duggar gave birth to a preemie ... and long before *I* gave birth to a preemie. Her 25-weeker was born just two years or so after MY 25-weeker, and having such a public representation of what I went through admittedly made me feel a connection to the family, if that makes any kind of warped sense. It's the same connection I feel to ALL preemie families, but the fact our girls were born at nearly identical birth weights/ages, and under similar circumstances, really resonated with me. Although my girl came home much before her due date whereas Michelle Duggar's baby did not, it's hard to shake. Once you enter the world of prematurity, everything changes. Thanks for listening. ---- It's seriously impossible to explain why I find this story fascinating. Um, hello. Fundamentalist Christianity? Shouldn't my head melt or something? And yet I DO find it fascinating. But reading the book, while all cheery and uplifting, made me find a great sadness in this family's life. So when the Duggars started out life together, she was on the pill for a couple of years before they decided to have a baby. Their first one comes along and they decide to go back on the pill. But she gets pregnant, then loses the baby around 2-3 months. So some asshole idiot doctor tells them the miscarriage happened because of the pill. Ta-dah! With that massive guilt, a 20-and-counting (21?) family is born. And how do they do it all, and debt-free, you ask? Well, we don't really get into many details about the debt-free thing. It's basically all about saving your money and then asking god for help. Oh, and letting TLC pay for things once in awhile. And how about food? Luckily for us, they've included their favorite recipes. Man. They eat CRAP! If it's a creamed soup, it's in their favorites. I have to admit being a bit pissed that they use disposable plates etc. to eat the food that's the girls' job to prepare. It's wonderful that they don't mooch off society to pay for their enormous family, but hello! Environmental impact, anyone? And to answer the child-rearing question. They raise their children by letting the other children raise them. Each older kid gets a buddy. They SAY they spend time with each child, but how much individual time can you spend in a day with so much going on? And those kids are homeschooled, and sheltered from TV/Internet (and apparently anyone who lives off their compound. Oops, I mean property) so they're pretty much mind-controlled. Speaking of ... adding to the cult-like aura is their new monster house. The kids sleep in dorm-like rooms by gender. We're told several times it was the kids' choice ... which I suppose is possible considering it's the kids raising the other kids and they wouldn't want to be away from each other. I'm thinking that, along with the enormous prayer room area AND the fact that Jim Bob holds PRAYER SESSIONS ON SUNDAYS in his home, once the kids are gone, those dorm rooms will be great for the cult members to come. I predict it won't be long before god calls Jim Bob to open a church in his house. Now that the oldest kid is married off, it'll be interesting to see how many children his wife can produce before his mother stops having babies. AND YET. I know I'll still watch the reruns. So that raises an obvious question: Who's really the sickest here?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mommywest

    Was it the same phenomenon that causes people to flock to the scene of an accident, or was it a combination of curiosity and admiration of how this family is able to have that many kids and love and care for them all that led me to read this book? Probably a little of both! I really enjoyed this book. The Duggar parents have written a great resource that simultaneously tells their family story and shares the parenting philosophies and practices that have worked for them in raising their many chil Was it the same phenomenon that causes people to flock to the scene of an accident, or was it a combination of curiosity and admiration of how this family is able to have that many kids and love and care for them all that led me to read this book? Probably a little of both! I really enjoyed this book. The Duggar parents have written a great resource that simultaneously tells their family story and shares the parenting philosophies and practices that have worked for them in raising their many children. Also included are some favorite family recipes and answers to some of the many, many e-mails they receive from all over the world. Though sometimes I would have liked them to go into a little more detail in describing certain parenting techniques or organizational ideas, I felt that this book was very helpful and inspiring. I am so impressed by their faith and dedication in bringing as many of God's children to this earth as he will allow, and their absolute dedication to their children in teaching and loving them. Their children love and serve each other, and that's what we all want our children to learn, isn't it? If there were more families like the Duggars, no matter what religion, this world would have a lot less heartache. It's so awesome to read about people who know why they're here and what they're supposed to be doing!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Wade

    I love this family!! I watch the show all the time, so I was excited to read this book. They are a wonderful Christian family who stick by their values and make things work. They have 18 children, no debt (nope, not even a mortgage!) and loads of great advise- after all- with a crop like that, they are experts! This book offers a lot more details on their parenting techniques and also has lots of great sounding recipes. It was an easy read and definitely one that I will refer to a lot. I think w I love this family!! I watch the show all the time, so I was excited to read this book. They are a wonderful Christian family who stick by their values and make things work. They have 18 children, no debt (nope, not even a mortgage!) and loads of great advise- after all- with a crop like that, they are experts! This book offers a lot more details on their parenting techniques and also has lots of great sounding recipes. It was an easy read and definitely one that I will refer to a lot. I think we should all live a little more like them!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Hank

    Since I am not exposed to much television, I had no idea who the Duggars were when I picked up this book on a friend's coffee table two weeks ago. Since this loving couple is proliferating at an unrestricted rate, I figured they were studying the Duggars as a model for their own family expansion. Intending to read just a page or two, I set the book down a couple of hours later, having read the whole text skipping recipes and omitting the last chapter. Not an English scholar myself, I'd characteri Since I am not exposed to much television, I had no idea who the Duggars were when I picked up this book on a friend's coffee table two weeks ago. Since this loving couple is proliferating at an unrestricted rate, I figured they were studying the Duggars as a model for their own family expansion. Intending to read just a page or two, I set the book down a couple of hours later, having read the whole text skipping recipes and omitting the last chapter. Not an English scholar myself, I'd characterize the writing as basic - if it had been surrogate authored by one of the (surrogate parent) kids I would not be surprised. But the family and business leadership principles they purport are fantastic in both their simplicity and insight - I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS FOR ANY FAMILY whether you be two or twenty in numbers. Now that the Duggars have my interest, I see how much contention there is about them. Sadly, most of that contention has undertones of contempt that hints of jealousy toward their peace and denial of God's call. These comments are also strongly indicative of the selfish independence most Americans claim is so important to them as they while away their lives in non-productive activities geared toward ease and entertainment. The only principle the Duggars seem to uphold that I am not in tune with is their intent to be "debt free". I think they need to recognize the difference in consumption debt and investment leverage that works in a morally grounded free economy - we are all beneficiaries of the latter. I commend the Duggars. Their lives can't be perfect, nor will their offspring be, and statistically the chances for a tragedy as we see it are increasing with every birth. But if the children aren't "adjusted" to a twisted society that might not be so bad.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tamsyn

    I was really impressed by this book and how organized their family has learned to be. It was fun to see a family so large I could tell them there's only 13 in my family! Many of the family scenarios rang true from my own experience, and it was really fun to read. I liked the idea of blanket time for toddlers and will probably use it, and some of the other organization tips I think we'll be using soon. I've always admired large families, and this book was truly a pleasure and inspiration to read. I was really impressed by this book and how organized their family has learned to be. It was fun to see a family so large I could tell them there's only 13 in my family! Many of the family scenarios rang true from my own experience, and it was really fun to read. I liked the idea of blanket time for toddlers and will probably use it, and some of the other organization tips I think we'll be using soon. I've always admired large families, and this book was truly a pleasure and inspiration to read. It's amazing that they have such a large family and are living debt free, and they have lots of frugal tips for that as well. I can vouch for their laundry soap recipe, I've been using one very similar for more than a year and it works great! Their family website is www.duggarfamily.com

  6. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I am addicted to this odd family and their TV show on TLC. ******I don't understand my own fascination with this family. They are the type of Fundamentalist family who appear to be continuing to have children so that those of their ilk will take over civilization through sheer numbers. They go to the Creation museum. The girls must wear dresses and not cut their hair. And yet I keep watching. Maybe it's just a sociological fascination. I don't know. I feel shame. And based on the recipes included. I am addicted to this odd family and their TV show on TLC. ******I don't understand my own fascination with this family. They are the type of Fundamentalist family who appear to be continuing to have children so that those of their ilk will take over civilization through sheer numbers. They go to the Creation museum. The girls must wear dresses and not cut their hair. And yet I keep watching. Maybe it's just a sociological fascination. I don't know. I feel shame. And based on the recipes included.....they eat a lot of crappy food! ______Re-read 3/20/09

  7. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    Yeah, I read it. You got something to say about that? Let's clear something up right away. I have absolutely zero desire to have 75 kids, and after reading this book that desire has probably gone down. We don't have cable TV, so I've never seen one of their shows, but I heard a glowing review of this book, rolled my eyes, and thought I'd check it out. The up sides to this -- they are incredibly organized and unashamed of their faith. No one could deny that they love the Lord and aren't afraid to Yeah, I read it. You got something to say about that? Let's clear something up right away. I have absolutely zero desire to have 75 kids, and after reading this book that desire has probably gone down. We don't have cable TV, so I've never seen one of their shows, but I heard a glowing review of this book, rolled my eyes, and thought I'd check it out. The up sides to this -- they are incredibly organized and unashamed of their faith. No one could deny that they love the Lord and aren't afraid to live that out in their own quirky way. The dad is also incredibly business savvy. They live debt free, using money they earn in various real estate ventures, and built a 7,000 square foot house using cash. The down sides to this book - it's so incredibly perky and saccharine I feel like I need to brush my teeth. Apparently there are no down sides to having an addiction to giving birth. The mother says there are moments of tears and frustration, but the pessimist in me wants to know a specific story of some blow up and how they handled it. Nope. On top of that, it's just not well written. The perspective changes within the same paragraph with no warning, other than the constant use of parenthesis. You will read along and it will say, "I (Michelle) felt that..." and then three sentences later "I (Jim Bob) decided to..." It's obvious they wrote it together, but an editor needed to find a way to tell one side of the story and then the other without muddling it all together. I (Heidi) thought this was a quick read, and worth it to see into the lives of something so totally foreign to me, but it could have been much more real.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    I can't understand why people get so upset about the Duggars. I get the whole overpopulation thing, but really, the people are living in rural Arkansas. AND people get upset about them living-debt free, like that's a problem. AND their parenting techniques...what's wrong with gentle correction and training, and teaching kids to be polite? Their methods may not be mine, but I can't dispute their effectiveness. As for the book, it gave some nice background on the family from the beginning and how th I can't understand why people get so upset about the Duggars. I get the whole overpopulation thing, but really, the people are living in rural Arkansas. AND people get upset about them living-debt free, like that's a problem. AND their parenting techniques...what's wrong with gentle correction and training, and teaching kids to be polite? Their methods may not be mine, but I can't dispute their effectiveness. As for the book, it gave some nice background on the family from the beginning and how they developed some of their beliefs. On the chapter on parenting, it seems a bit lacking. It mentions letting the children have an unpleasant consequence for disobedience, but doesn't exactly explain what those might be. I was intrigued by some of their parenting tips however and may give a few a try. Stylistically the book isn't great, as the little sidebars are distracting and really break up the reading, and they are sometimes unrelated to the main body of text. Surely they could have been placed in a more logical fashion. Even though it seemed to bother other readers, I was kind of relieved to see that the family uses paper plates and eats crappy recipes like tater tot casserole. (ugh!) If they were to be super organized and sweet and polite all the time AND homeschool AND make perfect meals from organic ingredients fed on sustainable bamboo plates then I might have to give up and shoot myself.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    It seems that a lot of people share my fascination with the Duggar family, and with good reason -- they've done some thing phenomenal: they've turned the seemingly daunting task of parenting so many children into the image of an idyllic family lifestyle. And they've entered the public sphere, and their own dose of celebrity, without any of the drama that accompanies Jon & Kate, among others. What's their secret? There may be no simple answer to that question, but in this book they lay out some o It seems that a lot of people share my fascination with the Duggar family, and with good reason -- they've done some thing phenomenal: they've turned the seemingly daunting task of parenting so many children into the image of an idyllic family lifestyle. And they've entered the public sphere, and their own dose of celebrity, without any of the drama that accompanies Jon & Kate, among others. What's their secret? There may be no simple answer to that question, but in this book they lay out some of the specifics of their life choices that have led to their success and happiness. Written from a first-person perspective (Jim Bob and Michelle take turns narrating, with intermittent interjections from their kids in response to e-mailed questions they've received), this book gives a basic overview of the family history, starting with Jim Bob and Michelle's childhoods and ending at the point at which they were writing their book and expecting their eighteenth child. Along the way, they discuss their various successes and failures, and the little tidbits they've learned that have helped to "save their sanity," as they say. Many of these tidbits are excellent advice for any family, even those with only one or two children. Some of their advice is more specific to the needs of large families. (For example, family laundry is not such a daunting task in a family of three or four.) But their advice is always delivered with a sprinkling of humility -- they never claim to be parenting experts, but instead offer suggestions based on what they have learned, from experience, to be solid parenting and family-management practices. Also, they offer a lengthy list of outside resources for further consultation, should readers need more information or wish to pursue some of the techniques and suggestions on their own. While Fundamentalist Christianity is a tremendous part of this family's lifestyle, I did not find their inclusion of their faith to be overbearing in this book. While I don't share their religious beliefs, they presented their views and their spirituality in such a way that I could appreciate its value to them, without feeling that I was being preached at. As a matter of fact, it was a far more subtle approach to religion than I would have expected from a book from this publisher. Only in the last few sentences of the book do the Duggars ever turn their religion outward toward the reader: "We hope our story inspired you to seek out His [God's:] guidance in everything you do." (p. 228) I found this book both fascinating and useful. The Duggars have quite a remarkable story, and I'm anxious to check out some of the resources they've listed to see how I can put them to use in raising my own three kids. As a parenting manual, this is one of the best and most helpful I've ever read. As a parenting story, this is one of the most inspirational and calming. Highly recommended for any parent.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    I guess you could say the Duggars are my guilty pleasure; I watch their show “18 Kids and Counting,” previously titled “17 Kids and Counting,” religiously and I’ve seen all the specials on their lives, starting with “14 Kids and Pregnant Again.” I can also recite the names of their children in order — all the way from Joshua to Jordyn-Grace. {Just reread that and just realized how creepy that sounds.)Although I fundamentally disagree with everything the stand for, I find their family utterly fas I guess you could say the Duggars are my guilty pleasure; I watch their show “18 Kids and Counting,” previously titled “17 Kids and Counting,” religiously and I’ve seen all the specials on their lives, starting with “14 Kids and Pregnant Again.” I can also recite the names of their children in order — all the way from Joshua to Jordyn-Grace. {Just reread that and just realized how creepy that sounds.)Although I fundamentally disagree with everything the stand for, I find their family utterly fascinating, and so I turned to their autobiography to learn about what the show doesn’t show you. The Duggars: 20 and Counting! is an easy read that offers a wealth of information about the Duggars that the show skipped over, especially the Duggars’ life before they had fourteen children. They share two little tidbits in the discipline {I’ll let you find out about that} and in the kitchen department that really worried me — they use paper plates since washing 60 dishes a day would be too much. Imagine if everyone on the planet had this large of families, which is their ultimate goal, and therefore had to rely on paper plates. Landfills would be overflowing! And they answer that “burning” question as to why they give all their children ‘J’ names; They loved the names Joshua, John-David, and Jana, so when Jill was born, they didn’t want her to be the only one without a ‘J’ name. Normally this amount of religion would begin to bother me after a while, but when it comes to the Duggars, I knew to expect that every page would involve some sort of reference to their religious views. However, there are to stylistic choices that really bother me — one due to publishing format and another due to narrative format. In the book, the sidebars are stuck right in the middle of the text, which interrupts the flow of the narrative, and the sidebars often have nothing to do with what that page is talking about. As for the narrative problem, both Jim Bob and Michelle refer to themselves as ‘I’ in the book. Therefore, there are several instances where the reader has no clue as to who is talking, and as a result of this confusion, they rely on “I (Michelle) … I (Jim Bob)” to correct this problem, which only aggravated me more.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katrina

    I just finished reading this and have to say that it is really good! I have always been pretty fascinated by the Duggars, a family with 18 going on 19 children, and have seen several of the TV shows about them. I really admire their thrift, family values, and faith in God. This book just increased my admiration for them. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are very frank and honest about answering questions and telling their story. Plus, they explain how they stay organized and run their household. We a I just finished reading this and have to say that it is really good! I have always been pretty fascinated by the Duggars, a family with 18 going on 19 children, and have seen several of the TV shows about them. I really admire their thrift, family values, and faith in God. This book just increased my admiration for them. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are very frank and honest about answering questions and telling their story. Plus, they explain how they stay organized and run their household. We all have something to learn from them. I was especially impressed by how Christ centered their lives are. They truly do put God first and are wonderful examples of good Christian living. From everything they talked about, they seem to be extremely Christ like and are teaching their children to be so also. They also live completely debt free and save up for everything... including cars and their house, which they built mostly themselves. And their children are all so well-behaved and happy... I'm very impressed. While I don't plan on having even close to 19 children... we already have a large family by modern standards and do plan on having more children. Sometimes that seems overwhelming, but seeing that the Duggars can happily manage such a large family, gives me confidence that I can manage mine.

  12. 5 out of 5

    julie

    Wow! I found this family so inspiring. I loved the parents' attitude on parenting and life in general. This book reinforced my belief that attitude determines our experiences much more than circumstances. Our lives are what we believe them to be, whether full of grace and beauty,or negativism and unhappiness. While many of the Duggars' specific tips about things like laundry, mealtime, etc. aren't necessary for my small family, their beliefs about giving our lives to God, avoiding debt, purposef Wow! I found this family so inspiring. I loved the parents' attitude on parenting and life in general. This book reinforced my belief that attitude determines our experiences much more than circumstances. Our lives are what we believe them to be, whether full of grace and beauty,or negativism and unhappiness. While many of the Duggars' specific tips about things like laundry, mealtime, etc. aren't necessary for my small family, their beliefs about giving our lives to God, avoiding debt, purposeful parenting, and positive problem solving are applicable to anyone.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Books Ring Mah Bell

    How they do it??? I have enough trouble with the frequency of them doing it! The LAST thing I need to know is HOW they do it! GAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! Something tells me after 20 kids, it's like.... ACK! Nevermind! How they do it??? I have enough trouble with the frequency of them doing it! The LAST thing I need to know is HOW they do it! GAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! Something tells me after 20 kids, it's like.... ACK! Nevermind!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Talia

    Ah, the Duggars. Although I don’t believe in their particular form of religion nor their feelings on procreation, there’s something about this family that fascinates me, that fascinates EVERYONE. Regardless of your personal feelings towards their fundamentalist beliefs, there lies the question: could I do this? Be pregnant every other year and raise a family of 18 kids and not be committed to an asylum? Nope. But Michelle Duggar (who is a whole heck of a lot more likable than Kate Gosselin) tell Ah, the Duggars. Although I don’t believe in their particular form of religion nor their feelings on procreation, there’s something about this family that fascinates me, that fascinates EVERYONE. Regardless of your personal feelings towards their fundamentalist beliefs, there lies the question: could I do this? Be pregnant every other year and raise a family of 18 kids and not be committed to an asylum? Nope. But Michelle Duggar (who is a whole heck of a lot more likable than Kate Gosselin) tells us how she does it: no TV or Internet (although 71 whole Web sites are allowed for research!), be debt free (save a lot and ask G-d for the rest), homeschooling with a religious curriculum, organize like crazy, and basically have the older kids take care of the younger ones (unfortunately, as I learned from one of my good friends growing up, who is #2 out of 10 kids, that’s just how it is.) So agree or disagree with the Duggars’ methods or beliefs (I personally don’t like how the kids aren’t around anyone who isn’t like them), they are a sight to behold, and somehow, they make it work. Bravo, Michelle and Jim Bob. Give your kids some fresh vegetables once in a while.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    As a work of literature, this isn't exactly a masterpiece. A good editor could have found a much better way to differentiate between the two first-person voices behind the story. As it was, every few paragraphs the voice would switch between Michelle and Jim-Bob, with an "I (Jim Bob)" or an "I (Michelle)." I found it really distracting and somewhat annoying by the end. Couldn't they have used different shading or put in some headings to transition between them? However, as a book that shares how As a work of literature, this isn't exactly a masterpiece. A good editor could have found a much better way to differentiate between the two first-person voices behind the story. As it was, every few paragraphs the voice would switch between Michelle and Jim-Bob, with an "I (Jim Bob)" or an "I (Michelle)." I found it really distracting and somewhat annoying by the end. Couldn't they have used different shading or put in some headings to transition between them? However, as a book that shares how one family manages 18 children, with God's help, it's very interesting. I like this family, I really do. I'm glad I like this family, because if I hadn't known them a bit before reading this book, I might have really taken issue with some of the things in the book. For example, soon after he meets Michelle, Jim Bob writes that he prays, "I ask that Michelle could be mine and that I could be her spiritual leader." Frankly, I find that statement downright scary, but because I've seen how Michelle and her husband interact, it does seem that they are more equal partners than that statement would lead one to believe. Here's a few other thoughts I had as I read the book: * I'd heard criticisms in the past of this family's use of "blanket training" on their babies. From the description, I was leery of the idea. However, while I don't think I'll be adopting the practice anytime soon, the "blanket time" where they reward a toddler for sitting quietly on a blanket for reasonable amounts of time sounds like it would really be helpful to a homeschooling family. * I really admire this family for living by their convictions, though I do find some of their beliefs a bit odd. For example, though they claim to be New Testament Christians, they also adhere to some Old Testament practices, such as times prescribed not to have intercourse and circumcision on the 8th day. * The kids are very isolated and while I admire the way they are taught to live Christ-like attributes, it seems that their only practice of their religion is in their home with their siblings because that's where they are all the time. I have nothing against homeschooling and would do it myself under certain circumstances, but I also believe that interacting with the wider world is good for kids. I think it's good for siblings to be "best friends" but not good for them to be their only friends. The Duggars have a home church where fifty or so people gather every week at their home to worship (that's what? Their family plus two or three others their size?) and interact with other families a few times a year at homeschooling conferences. Other than that, it seems that the 20 people who live in their home are their whole world. * Some of their organization tips seem to make more work. For example, they have a family closet room where all the clothes are stored, rather than bringing clothes to the individual rooms. Every day, the children gather up what they want to wear the next day and carry it to their room. So they've traded bringing clothes to their rooms a few tiems a week for doing it daily. That doesn't seem easier to me. * I didn't realize before I read this book that some people actually make a practice of using paper plates on a daily basis. I know dishes can be a pain, but I just think that with that many kids, they have enough hands on board to help out. Paper plates just seem wasteful to me. * Supposedly, their budget for groceries and household items every month is $3000. Interesting fact. Our family is half their size, at 9 people versus the 20 that live in their home, but our kids are young so I have no idea yet how expensive it will be later on. * There were a couple of tips that I really would like to incorporate. For one, they have a set of lockers in their playroom, one for every child. The older kids are allowed to keep their treasures in it, locked away from the younger kids. I also like the way they moniter their internet use. They have a block on all but seventy sites. Those sites can be accessed at any time by anyone. If someone wants to search a site not on the approved list, they have a password kept by mom and one of the older girls. They are allowed to access it, but someone else needs to be nearby while they're on the internet. * I know they get a lot of criticism for their buddy system. I don't think it would work in our family, but I can see how it does in theirs. I think it's good for kids to learn to help one another. That can be taken to an extreme, but I don't think it is in their family. * I really admire their conviction to stay out of debt, though I think they take it to an extreme. For example, they are very proud of the seven years they rented a tiny house while they saved up enough to pay cash for their next (also very small) home. It seems to me that whether you're paying a mortgage or rent, you owe someone for putting a roof over your head. Seven years can sure build up a lot of equity. I liked all the examples they used of ways they'd been blessed to stay out of debt. * While they claim that "if one of our children is called to a specialized field, such as medicine, we will help him or her prepare for it," it does seem that their children's future careers are limited. Neither Jim Bob nor Michelle has a college education and their children are not encouraged to prepare for college. I agree with the idea that God has a plan for our lives, but I also think that part of His plan is for us to make our own choices and pursue the best paths we can find for ourselves. I do think that sometimes God wants us to pursue a specific career path, but more often, He lets us choose. By not setting higher education as a priority, they limit what their children can do with their lives. To put it another way, if a child grows up never playing the violin, and then at age 18 decides he wants to be a master violinist, he no longer has that option because of choices made earlier. * That said, it does seem that their homeschool curriculum is abundant. The sheer number of resources they use impresses me, though I know very little about the particular curriculum they use. * I think it's sad that their family divides jobs by gender. They don't say it, but it is everywhere implied that it is the girls who cook and sew and the boys who do the mechanical stuff. I think boys are just as capable in the kitchen and should be taught as well as the girls. * I'm impressed with the gratitude they express for everyone who they feel has helped them, from a family friend who comes over to help with laundry, to the Learning Channel who surprised them with a grand piano. Unlike a certain other reality show family, they never seem greedy, ungrateful, or demanding. So refreshing. * I have always admired Michelle's patience and would love to be more like her in that way -- for example, look how soft-spoken she is in this video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPE0WG... . So I really enjoyed reading about their family rules which are as follows: 1. Always use soft words, even when you don't feel well. 2. Always display kind actions, even if you have been mistreated. 3. Show joyful attitudes even when no one is looking. 4. Have sincere motives with no thought of self-gain. 5. Think pure thoughts. 6. Always give a good report of others. Never tale-bear unless physical harm will come to someone. Use Matthew 18. 7. Never raise a hand to hit. 8. Never raise a foot to kick. 9. Never raise an object to throw. 10. Never raise a voice to yell. 11. Never raise an eye to scowl. 12. Use one toy/activity at a time. 13. Never let the sun go down on your wrath. (Don't go to bed angry or guilty.) 14. Amendment J.O.Y.: Put Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. Make serving your family a priority.

  16. 4 out of 5

    M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews

    When I first heard of the Duggar family, my initial reaction was 'How the heck can someone have so many kids???' I watched them on some of their Discovery Channel episodes. When I heard the book had come out, I was curious as to see what they had to say about themselves. Yes, there are some things I disagree with them on. There's nothing wrong with birth control, I hope that their daughters at least make that decision for themselves, that they realize that they don't have to have so many children When I first heard of the Duggar family, my initial reaction was 'How the heck can someone have so many kids???' I watched them on some of their Discovery Channel episodes. When I heard the book had come out, I was curious as to see what they had to say about themselves. Yes, there are some things I disagree with them on. There's nothing wrong with birth control, I hope that their daughters at least make that decision for themselves, that they realize that they don't have to have so many children so they can have careers and such, and that the Bible isn't the right life tool for everyone. The Bible has clearly guided the Duggars well. Their children are polite and well behaved, the older siblings have jobs and what not, the girls are taught to drive as well as the boys and aren't treated like the women in a Mormon polygamist community and what not. Jim Bob and Michelle don't beat their kids or mistreat them in any way - more mothers should be like Michelle! My concern is that Jim Bob and Michelle shelter their children too much. Everyone plays two or three instruments (I doubt that each and every single Duggar child actually has the passion for music) and it doesn't seem that their homeschooling education offers much in the way of a well-varied curriculum, according to what Michelle teaches her kids. I heard that the oldest son was refused from a college because his homeschooling curriculum wasn't enough. Do these children ever learn about other religions and cultures, or read great classic novels or Greek, Roman, Latin, or medieval works? Have any of the lids expressed curiosity in it, and what was their parent's response? I guess I'm asking this because I had a history minor in college and love to read, but not all of the kids are the same and some of the kids are bound to have literary interests rather than say, musical like some of their siblings. I hope these kids realize there's a richly varied world out there, and I hope that their parents don't make it seem like a bad place (aside the obvious things like war and such) The love that Jim Bob and Michelle have for their family is very real, as well as the fact that they are taking their time to write a book to share their happiness and knowledge with us. Jim Bob and Michelle are still clearly passionately in love with one another, and I don't question their loyalty to one another. Their economy is to be commended. Many parents today complain about how hard and expensive it is to raise just a few children, while Jim Bob and Michelle do just fine with their large brood. Granted, I feel that much of the responsibility has been delegated to the older girls as well as cooking and cleaning - Michelle even looked surprised on the TV show when she was asked questions about that matter. But their budgeting advice is to be taken seriously, whether the economy is high or low. Too many people have become wasteful and disrespectful, and the Duggar's firm and loving hand in raising their children is to be commended in a society where so many parents choose to not take responsibility for the education and rearing of their child. I took away a star because there needed to be more financial information in this book. I mean, living debt-free is a great idea, but not everyone can just buy some property and sell it for profit (r become landlords). For people who live in say, the big city, where all the land is already taken, what options does one have? Or college? I currently am debt-free, but I used to owe money for college. You know what they say - you gotta spend money to make money. There really should have been more money-saving info in this book. Bills, college funds, emergencies, other things like that. I didn't expect them to like, tell us exactly how much they spend on what or how much taxes they paid or profit made, that's personal. But I really had been expecting more in the financial tips department.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Challis

    I enjoyed reading this book. I saw one of their episodes on my mom's TV (the one about their house being built) and it was the first time I'd ever heard of them. I didn't hear much more about them til their latest baby ended up in the hospital. I dont' really see why people get so upset about other people living their own lives to the best of their conscience. The whole 'overpopulation' myth has been debunked for ages. Everyone is going to do something you don't like or agree with. Someone made I enjoyed reading this book. I saw one of their episodes on my mom's TV (the one about their house being built) and it was the first time I'd ever heard of them. I didn't hear much more about them til their latest baby ended up in the hospital. I dont' really see why people get so upset about other people living their own lives to the best of their conscience. The whole 'overpopulation' myth has been debunked for ages. Everyone is going to do something you don't like or agree with. Someone made a complaint about them using paper plates (which I also dont' like, but is it better to use all the water it would take to wash that many dishes every day?) but what about all the books that are printed and so many other things that are wasteful? I recycle loads of mail (most of it junk) every week. I was impressed with this couple, Jim Bob and Michelle. They decided early on what their convictions and priorities were and they have mostly stuck with them through it all. How many of us have actually made that distinction in our lives and then dedicated ourselves and our family to it? I know I have fallen short! They have incredible faith in God. I love the stories they shared about how He answered their prayers. Too many times I think I have to make my own way and it was a good reminder to me to rely more on Him. He wants to bless His children. I also liked some of the parenting tips and the reminder to speak more softly as I have had an anger problem since having children as well. I know it is hard, but I believe with a more concerted effort I can overcome that fault. I love the homeschooling part too because we have discussed it a lot. I think it's ridiculous when people say these kids are brainwashed. Aren't all kids? Whatever we as parents, or teachers at school teach kids, it could be considered brainwashing. To the people who believe in global warming, I'm sure they 'brainwash' their kids about being 'green' and other things. So anytime you're teaching your kids your own beliefs, you could be brainwashing them. But I guess we only call it that when they are being taught something other than our personal beliefs! I come from a family with 6 kids, and no it wasn't love and hugs all the time, but we did get a long a lot better than some of the families I saw with less children. It seems families with 2 or 3 kids have the most sibling rivalry in my experience. I also liked their commitment to being debt free and their examples of how The Lord helps them keep that commitment. Overall this book helped strengthen my own faith, gave me confidence to more and rely on the Lord more. The recipes are pretty horrible if you were expecting them to eat healthfully, but I bet they taste good! I agree that some of their answers seem over the top sunshine and roses, even the new daughter in law. But if you've ever been around someone that really immerses themselves in their faith, they seem a little unreal. I think it just gives me more incentive to overcome the natural man and be more Christ-like. Even if others find me unbelievable or hard to relate to.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    What an interesting read! The biggest thing that stood out to me to admire is how committed they are to living by their principles. They believe in staying out of debt, and so they do- completely and always! They believe in allowing God to determine the number of children they will have, and you can see that they have stuck to that. I really admire people who stick to their convictions no matter what. I also enjoyed reading about how they manage things, and got some good ideas that I might use. What an interesting read! The biggest thing that stood out to me to admire is how committed they are to living by their principles. They believe in staying out of debt, and so they do- completely and always! They believe in allowing God to determine the number of children they will have, and you can see that they have stuck to that. I really admire people who stick to their convictions no matter what. I also enjoyed reading about how they manage things, and got some good ideas that I might use. I like the focus on developing Christlike character along with other learning. Some of the organizational tips are really helpful. My biggest hesitation is how the children really, truly feel about things. There were several segments on side bars called "email to the Duggars" that were questions answered by various members of the family. The ones answered by their children felt a bit too scripted, and left me wondering if that is truly how the child feels, or if their answer was influenced by what they were "supposed" to say. I admire the selflessness involved in their life style, but it has made me ponder the question of whether there comes a point when it can be overkill? Are their children developing as individuals, not just as cogs in a well-functioning family? Please know that I don't want to assume the worst or be critical of this family. I genuinely admire them, and feel like the parents make every decision based on what they feel God would want them to do, and what they see is in the best interest of their children. It just left me with some questions. It would be fascinating to read about how everyone is doing 20 years from now, and better see the effect on the children once they leave the nest. Just a note...I hadn't even heard of this family before, so I might have read it differently if I had seen the show, or had any other background.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Catherine J.

    I mostly read this book out of sheer fascination about large fundie families. I share approximately no views with the Duggars and mainly watch them because they are quite the trainwreck. I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated by Michelle. She has the most insipid, meek baby voice, that makes me want to shoot something. And there's just something extra annoying about someone preaching intolerance and anti-feminism in that kind of voice. Also, Duggars, don't act like you aren't the most ju I mostly read this book out of sheer fascination about large fundie families. I share approximately no views with the Duggars and mainly watch them because they are quite the trainwreck. I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated by Michelle. She has the most insipid, meek baby voice, that makes me want to shoot something. And there's just something extra annoying about someone preaching intolerance and anti-feminism in that kind of voice. Also, Duggars, don't act like you aren't the most judgemental hypocrites who walked the face of the Earth. At least own the fact that several of the things you preach, you don't actually follow unless it pertains to hardcore Gothard fundies like yourself. There were several parts of this book that made me headdeskingly displeased. It seems to me that Jim Bob and Michelle had quite normal childhoods. I don't see why they need to shelter their children to the extent that they do. Homeschool if you must, but teaching them a factually incorrect curriculum? That's a bit much. You're kind of setting them up for failure. Also, holy shit on the "blanket training." You can call it "issuing a correction," but I've looked into this: you're hitting babies. What the fuck is wrong with you? Never have I been happier to be a Canadian than after watching/listening to/reading about the Duggars. I'm so sorry, America, that these people belong to you. Unfortunately, I'll probably still watch their show because see above regarding trainwreck. However, we neither have cable nor count toward their ratings anyway, so at least I'm not feeding this beast. Stay tuned for the reviews of their next 2 books, which I paid for sometime before deciding they were abhorrent, and now I need to get my money's worth.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    This was an interesting book in a lot of ways. I got a few great parenting tips including some really fabulous ideas for teaching Christlike attributes to children (things like obedience and love). I also got a great reminder of how important it is to live debt free, and I loved the examples of how the Lord continually opens doors for us even when things seem hopeless. However...I thought that a lot of the things in the book were just over the top. I honestly ended up feeling like a huge failure This was an interesting book in a lot of ways. I got a few great parenting tips including some really fabulous ideas for teaching Christlike attributes to children (things like obedience and love). I also got a great reminder of how important it is to live debt free, and I loved the examples of how the Lord continually opens doors for us even when things seem hopeless. However...I thought that a lot of the things in the book were just over the top. I honestly ended up feeling like a huge failure as a parent because I get tired and upset and angry with my kids on a fairly regular basis (and I only have three kids), and according to this book, this family is all smiles, happiness, and love all the live-long day (and they have 18 kids). In short, I just didn't buy that aspect of things...either I truly am a horrible mom, or they sugar-coated A LOT of things while writing this book. I'm going to go with the belief that they sugar-coated things so that I don't need months of therapy to convince myself that I'm not all that bad of a parent after all. In short, it's a quick, fun read, but it's also a little damaging to the ego of anyone who tries hard to be a good parent but realizes that they fall short on a very regular basis.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I ordered this for myself because this family fascinates me. They manage to raise all these children without outside negative influence from marketing and television. They are well behaved, not overly sugar-sweet, well-adjusted kids with parents who truly know they are blessed by their many kids. They are not people who sit back and expect life to bless them, they actively seek to live a wonderful life infused with their faith and with zero debt. The book explains how they built this family, how I ordered this for myself because this family fascinates me. They manage to raise all these children without outside negative influence from marketing and television. They are well behaved, not overly sugar-sweet, well-adjusted kids with parents who truly know they are blessed by their many kids. They are not people who sit back and expect life to bless them, they actively seek to live a wonderful life infused with their faith and with zero debt. The book explains how they built this family, how they live, how they organize, how they parent and most of all what it takes to properly raise 18kids with no greed, tantrums, in fighting, screaming or endless punishment. All parents can learn from this incredible family. I admire these people and will take quite a bit from their story. I can't say I could do all that they do, but I certainly can incorporate some of their techniques.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    I love the Duggars. I was hoping to get a little more of their parenting style from this book, and that's the only reason I didn't give it a full 5 stars. I told my husband that we should ship our kids out to live with them so that way I could feel confident that they would grow up to be kind, humble, loving, with strong testimonies of Jesus. He just rolled his eyes but seriously, the Duggars are amazing. I love the Duggars. I was hoping to get a little more of their parenting style from this book, and that's the only reason I didn't give it a full 5 stars. I told my husband that we should ship our kids out to live with them so that way I could feel confident that they would grow up to be kind, humble, loving, with strong testimonies of Jesus. He just rolled his eyes but seriously, the Duggars are amazing.

  23. 5 out of 5

    PhilorChelsy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Another inspiring book for me so I have to record all the notes I take right here for my reference. They have their reference listed on their website www.duggarfamily.com too. Their chore methods, blanket time, organization methods in such a big family, Buddy System, and daily schedules are very interesting. Through trial and error (as with us all) this family has learned to apply Christian principles to their life in every way they possibly can. From child rearing to money management. They have Another inspiring book for me so I have to record all the notes I take right here for my reference. They have their reference listed on their website www.duggarfamily.com too. Their chore methods, blanket time, organization methods in such a big family, Buddy System, and daily schedules are very interesting. Through trial and error (as with us all) this family has learned to apply Christian principles to their life in every way they possibly can. From child rearing to money management. They have a debt-free, pay cash only policy and stick to it. When things come up, they trust that after their hard work, God will provide, and He has fulfilled their needs in exactness many many times in ways that have allowed them to keep their goals. Sometimes it took a long time and a lot of patience on their part! If paying cash for thier home meant living in a 900 sq ft home with 7 children until they could, first buy the home, second, fix it up-they did it! I see so many blessings that have come to them through their faithfulness and a LOT of hard work. "It's not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness." -C.H.Spurgeon "...show me your friends, and I'll show you your future." 13 "When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world." -George Washington Carver Work to live, don't live to work. To their homeschooled children: "You can gain all kinds of training, but no matter what skills and talents you possess, if you do these two things you'll be successful: first, love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and second, love your neighbor as yourself.' IF our children learn those two things while their under my tutelage, then I've been successful. And they will be too." 112 "As I teach you to obey my voice, I'm also teaching you to leran to obey God's voice. Someday, you will learn to hear his still, small voice in your heart, and you will know to obey Him." 114 First rule is to Obey Mom and Dad: in an Instant, Cheerfully "Yes ma'am. I'd be happy to.", Thoroughly (the obedience game/race) make sure they are looking in your eyes, Unconditionally (I know it's not your job, I'm the one who gave out the jobs, I just want to hear a cheerful yes ma'am as you head off to do it). Instilling Contentment: "...be content with the food and clothing they have, using the possessions they have and keeping their focus on the purpose for which God made them" Character building in potty training! haha, I love it: "...they learned to be attentive to that initial prompting that alearted them that they needed to go to the bathroom, and we tell them God will provide other promptings throughout their lives, helping then know the right thing to do." ["God made you in a way that's really great. He made that little alarm in your body that tells you, I've gotta go potty...instantly obey.":] 136 pg 139 family guidelines. "When children are young and underfoot, parents' focus is usually on training and correcting. As they grow into young adults...we focus on matters of the heart." "...ask God to help me model the responses I wanted my chlidren to have when things didn't go their way." (gentle hand on the arm, soft answer turneth away wrath) 150 "We always prayed that our children would confess or be caught quickly when they did something wrong....whenever this kind of situation has arisen, we've seen again and again how God can work all things for good, even things that cause us sorrow at the time." 161 'Operational definition of thriftiness is, "Not letting myself or others spend that which is not necessary." The teaching is based on Luke 16:11, where Jesus pointed out that if we're not trustworthy in managing small things, we similarly won't be worhty of managing things of greather value.' The younger children are often gathered around the older children, either through the blanket time, nap time nearby on a blanket, sitting at the table for sit-time with a quiet toy while the others do homeschool, or sitting at the table watching or helping with the meals. "We pray with each of our children about his or her future vocation. We teach them that any kind of vocation is a way to minister to others. We believe the people we work with and come in contact with during our everyday lives are there by divine appointment, not by chance." 190 They teach all of their children skills in all areas from the kitchen to the car. Any work or project is a family affair. Then they help them specialize in something they will enjoy working in. They all play either piano/violin/harp which they practice 30 min daily. But they are not extremest in their family practices, they are practical and realistic. They don't always eat perfectly healthy. They don't just work hard, they also play hard. They let their children have their own free agency as they mature and give them more responsibility as they grow. The kids become themselves...happily.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessi

    I have a hard time deciding how to categorize this book. My local library has it filed under "religion", but it's not really a book about religion, just a family that practices it. The majority of the book reads like a biography, from a bit of info about how the Duggar parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, met, to their courtship and marriage, to their business struggles and the births of their children (in fact, Jim Bob's narratives about the business can be a bit long, and they make up a sizable port I have a hard time deciding how to categorize this book. My local library has it filed under "religion", but it's not really a book about religion, just a family that practices it. The majority of the book reads like a biography, from a bit of info about how the Duggar parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, met, to their courtship and marriage, to their business struggles and the births of their children (in fact, Jim Bob's narratives about the business can be a bit long, and they make up a sizable portion of the book. This is the only reason I gave it four stars instead of five!). And yet, the book also includes things like recipes, organizational tips, and other helpful information. The last portion of the book details the Duggars' path to national attention, starting with Jim Bob's brief stint in politics to The Learning Channel offering them their own regular television show (I would assume this was in part because of the recent huge popularity of their other hit show with a big family, Jon & Kate Plus 8). Then Michelle Duggar provides quite a bit of tips and information on parenting, with helpful sources and many gentle disclaimers that these are things that work for this particular family, but they understand they might not be for everyone. While I do not have children myself at this time, when I do have a family I plan on turning to this book's resource section, particularly for the sources on childhood literacy and home organization of which Michelle Duggar speaks so highly. This book may not be for everyone, but it has the potential to please a broad audience. Parents of large families (or those looking to start one) and folks who reminisce about bygone days when parents did have more kids will find this an enjoyable read. Some may like it especially for the references and tips I mentioned. I also feel that this book would be a good read for those who don't feel like they understand the Duggar family, or perhaps have unkind words for them and their show. This book dispels a lot of myths and misconceptions about the family, their lifestyle, and their faith. In speaking about these things, the Duggars are never condescending or judgmental. Even when discussing matters of faith, they are careful to point out that what should matter in a relationship with God is just that- that you have a relationship. They don't want you to feel like they are saying that women all have to wear dresses and grow their hair long, or that no birth control is the way to go. They also explain some things in the book that others may poke fun at them about (for example, they buy almost all their clothing at yard sales and thrift stores. When you see them dressed alike, it's not because of some weird penchant for uniforms, but more likely because it was requested by a television producer. Or the oldest three or four Duggar children's names start with "J" simply by coincidence, and Michelle and Jim Bob decided that they would continue that trend, to keep anyone from feeling left out.) All in all, this was a very enjoyable read. And I must say, if you are deciding between this and the other book by a famous TLC mom who has lots of kids, go with this one. It's sweeter and a lot more fun.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I'm fascinated by this family. I think, because they are the absolute opposite of me. Eighteen kids and I have one. Extremely conservative and I'm liberal. She's a subservient wife and I'm a full partner in my marriage. I think the title would best be changed to Blind Faith. For that's what the Duggars live on . I admire that wholeheartedly, for I'm often the Doubting Thomas. No, not doubting in the sense that Thomas was, but I'm much more likely to use the free will and thought that God gifted I'm fascinated by this family. I think, because they are the absolute opposite of me. Eighteen kids and I have one. Extremely conservative and I'm liberal. She's a subservient wife and I'm a full partner in my marriage. I think the title would best be changed to Blind Faith. For that's what the Duggars live on . I admire that wholeheartedly, for I'm often the Doubting Thomas. No, not doubting in the sense that Thomas was, but I'm much more likely to use the free will and thought that God gifted me with. I often wonder how they can so blindly follow. I've found using scripture for your own needs to be quite dangerous and controlling. Any church or person that asks for blind faith is frightening. I've studied both the Old and New Testament at the college level. Both of these classes were some of my most difficult (until nursing school, chemistry, etc.) My Bible is dog eared and written in. It's well used. So, I could match verse for verse just about anything that these people hand out. That's not my point, though. My point is that I've noticed that they pick and choose scripture to fit their needs. That they isolate themselves and their children from the world, which they consider evil and filled with temptation. That's fine, I guess, to each their own, but I often wonder which one of those children will be the one to escape the confines of their family and venture out on their own. I wonder what will happen when they realize that the world really isn't this evil place after all. I wonder if their family will shun them. I wonder how they would see their parents through these new eyes. If we raise our children up to be good, decent people then they must be challenged. They must be out in the world, evil or not, to find out if our guidance has led them to the right path. If you don't allow them that, then that's your issue. Not theirs. Like I said, I'm fascinated by these people. I enjoy watching them on TV. I enjoyed reading their book, for to me, it was eye opening. This is important for us all to do. Reach outside ourselves to try to learn more and understand more about others. Unfortunately, I doubt that the Duggars would ever step outside their world to look into mine. As a side note, the recipes contained within the book are an unbelievable tribute to the power of the can. Cream of whatever soup, pasta, heavy cream, ground meat, canned vegetables. Heavy, rib sticking food, but not necessarily healthy. I'm sure that the point is to fill aching stomachs, but my hope is that these kids are getting more than just filling. I'd love for the Duggars to touch on that in future episodes. Man cannot live on cans alone.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Veronica Noechel

    "Why in the heck did you read this book?" is a valid question from those who know me, but then, if you *do* know me, you know I like to read about individuals and groups I don't...um...get. So I couldn't resist picking up this book, which offers a little (and I mean a *little*) more detail into the lives of the Dugger family than can be gleaned from their tv show--X Kids and Counting (I omitted the exact number since it may vary depending upon when you read this review.) Reasons to read this boo "Why in the heck did you read this book?" is a valid question from those who know me, but then, if you *do* know me, you know I like to read about individuals and groups I don't...um...get. So I couldn't resist picking up this book, which offers a little (and I mean a *little*) more detail into the lives of the Dugger family than can be gleaned from their tv show--X Kids and Counting (I omitted the exact number since it may vary depending upon when you read this review.) Reasons to read this book include getting a look into the childhood's of Michelle and Jim Bob, the couple who made the choice to forego all efforts at slowing their reproductive powers and allow the eggs and sperm to fall where they may, so to speak. It's interesting to see how they related to their own parents, when they got involved the sect of Christianity they embrace, and how they met, matched up, and married all by the ages of 17 and 18, respectively. I also enjoyed reading their recipes though wow--I hope they don't eat these highly unbalanced recipes too often. I'm not sure it would be possible to cram more sodium and animal fat (whoa...waaaay too much dairy, folks!) into one family's diet. There were a few interesting behind the scenes anecdotes from the show itself that I hadn't heard before that filled in gaps here and there if you're curious about some of the house building details, how the show has effected their finances and/or changed their lives. Reasons I gave this book such a low score? I bought the Kindle version, so it's possible that the formatting may be somewhat better on paper, but the constant switching back and forth between Jim Bob and Michelle's voices is incredibly irritating. They both use the first person and refer to the other in the third person with no break at all between them--one sentence "I" refers to him and in the next it refers to her. They put the names in parentheses after the pronouns in question, but geez, what a mess! It makes for an incredibly sloppy book. Other problems included time line issues, with a lot of messy doubling back, some repetition, and disorder. I was interested in reading about Jim Bob's political career (Eek! Sorry conservatives, but yeah...eek!) but there was waaay too much time spent detailing his losing campaign. I realize it's a part of the family's life, but at the same time, it gets tedious. So, if you watch the show, yes you'll probably get some unanswered questions addressed, but overall it's a poorly put together book. Hopefully they sought out a better editor for their other book. This one didn't do them any favors.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sanz

    I didn't know much about the Duggar family other than that they have a lot of children and a TV show that I've never seen. If I had cable TV I can bet I would watch their show. The Duggars are good people. I was inspired by their book. While I don't have any interest in having 20 children, I learned a lot from them like their family rules, living debt-free, enjoying today, praising your children, anger, (they suggest whispering when you are angry, which I've done recently and noticed it really h I didn't know much about the Duggar family other than that they have a lot of children and a TV show that I've never seen. If I had cable TV I can bet I would watch their show. The Duggars are good people. I was inspired by their book. While I don't have any interest in having 20 children, I learned a lot from them like their family rules, living debt-free, enjoying today, praising your children, anger, (they suggest whispering when you are angry, which I've done recently and noticed it really helps), thrift, preparing children for adult life. They encourage their children to be mentored in a vocation they are interested in before spending 4 years in college. (Totally agree with their outlook on a vocation!) Their recipes were interesting! Like canned tuna mixed with BBQ sauce instead of mayo. They eat lots of creamed soups in casseroles and lots of tacoish foods. The only recipes I would consider using from the book are homemade baby wipes and laundry detergent. A few quotations: "...enjoy these days, despite your frustrations and exhaustion. Leave the house a mess now and then, and simply spend the day playing with and enjoying your children. Each day may pass slowly when you're tired and wary, but the years pass quickly." "You will never regret spending too much time together as a family." "We pray with each of our children about his or her future vocation. We teach them that any kind of vocation is a way to minister to others. If you're going to work at some job for the next thirty to forty years of your life, wouldn't it be nice if it was something you enjoy?"

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    The Duggars: 20 and Counting! was actually an interesting book. I used to watch their show, but haven't in a while. I read this book a few years ago. It basically explains their story of how they met, were married, and decided to have a large family. They have always worked hard and encouraged the same out of their children. They even bought a steel kit and built that monstrous house mostly by themselves. The only thing that really bothers me about their child-raising techniques is that they sti The Duggars: 20 and Counting! was actually an interesting book. I used to watch their show, but haven't in a while. I read this book a few years ago. It basically explains their story of how they met, were married, and decided to have a large family. They have always worked hard and encouraged the same out of their children. They even bought a steel kit and built that monstrous house mostly by themselves. The only thing that really bothers me about their child-raising techniques is that they still continue to try to have children, even with Michelle at her age, and a very early preemie (I believe it was 25 weeks), and another miscarriage. I think that is a sign they need to stop. Besides, they very rarely get one on one time with any of their children. The older children are each assigned to take care of one tween-ish aged child and one younger child. However, as much as it bothers me that they make the older children take care of the younger children, the older children don't seem to mind it at all. I just wish Michelle would stop having more babies because once she gives birth, that baby seems to be the only child she spends time with for months. One thing I enjoyed reading about is the organizational system - I think the organizational systems are interesting for such large families. There are times that I feel disorganized with just one! Overall, 20 and Counting was an interesting and informative book about the Duggars earlier and their current life. Fans of the show will definitely enjoy it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carmen Liffengren

    A while back I caught the show on TLC about the Duggar family building their new home. I was intrigued by the Duggars and judging by the response to their reality series, I'm not the only one. So, I picked up their book which is really a companion to their TLC/Discovery Channel shows. It's a quick read sprinkled with info on how Jim Bob and Michelle live their faith, raise their large family, stay organized, live debt-free and discipline etc. They get so many questions that they wrote this book A while back I caught the show on TLC about the Duggar family building their new home. I was intrigued by the Duggars and judging by the response to their reality series, I'm not the only one. So, I picked up their book which is really a companion to their TLC/Discovery Channel shows. It's a quick read sprinkled with info on how Jim Bob and Michelle live their faith, raise their large family, stay organized, live debt-free and discipline etc. They get so many questions that they wrote this book to answer them. Now, the Duggar family is unusual in that they joyfully welcomed 18 children including two sets of twins. Their Christian faith permeates everything that they do and everything that they are and that's refreshing. If you've seen the show, you might want to pick up the book for a little background on Jim Bob (yes, his name is Jim Bob) and Michelle, but other than that, there probably wouldn't be anything new here. Oh, there's recipes sprinkled throughout the book and boy do they look horrible! I know that they have to feed a large family on a budget, but most of these recipes just seem gross. I believe there is one recipe involving mixing tuna with barbecue sauce. I just don't see how that could be good. I actually had to stop reading the recipes. They all looked bad.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    I know this family is pretty debatable and I don't agree with every part of their lifestyle but I do believe God has blessed this family. I think it's amazing that they can flourish without having debt and wonderful that they can do so. It seems this is something God laid on Jim Bob and Michelle. They just seem like a couple that honestly want to raise their children with a Christ-like countenance. I know this family is pretty debatable and I don't agree with every part of their lifestyle but I do believe God has blessed this family. I think it's amazing that they can flourish without having debt and wonderful that they can do so. It seems this is something God laid on Jim Bob and Michelle. They just seem like a couple that honestly want to raise their children with a Christ-like countenance.

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