Book Review: Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life

Sometimes at work, depending on census, we have some down time. I usually bring along my Kindle so I can do a little reading if the situation allows. This last week I read Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton. You might recognize her name from her very popular Love Warrior novel, which I had actually read first, despite this book being the first one that she’d written.

What can I say? I loved this book. I felt like it really spoke to me in so many ways and on so many levels. Melton’s down-to-earth, tell-it-like-it-is writing style was right up my alley. “Carry On, Warrior” chronicles Melton’s life from her early years as an alcoholic/addict who quit everything when she found out she was unexpectedly pregnant with her son to present day as a wife and mom of three beautiful little kids.

She doesn’t pretend to have her shit together and in today’s society of picture-perfect Instagram feeds and Facebook statuses, it’s a welcome relief. I don’t have my shit together either. Reading this book was like finding out that I’m not alone out there trying to navigate the waters of life.

“So I decided that’s what God wanted me to do. He wanted me to walk around telling people the truth. No mask, no hiding, no pretending. That was going to be my thing. I was going to make people feel better about their insides by showing them mine. By being my real self. But I was keeping my trendy jeans. I decided they were part of my real self.”

Melton is the writer behind the hugely popular blog and online community Momastery, which promotes family, peace and love. Melton coined the term “brutiful” – a combination of the words “beautiful” and “brutal” – that she uses as the central theme of the book. She acknowledges that while life has its fair share of heartache, it is also a lovely, sacred gift.

“Carry On Warrior”shows Melton at her most vulnerable. She details her struggles with addiction, financial issues, her experience becoming a mother and parenting her children, marital stresses and her efforts to adopt a final child. Through her writing, she shows us what it means to embrace a “messy” life. But it’s not all woes and sadness, there’s a huge amount of “brutiful” thrown in their too, and her stories are not only relatable, but hilarious as well. I laughed out loud so many times during this book, but especially about the “stroller vacuuming.” The balance between the hard stuff and the beautiful everyday ordinary stuff is wonderfully done in this memoir.

I am not a Christian, and while Melton does share a lot about her faith, she does it in a way that isn’t pushy or judgemental, which I appreciated. In order to identify with her journey, I do think you have to be somewhat spiritual (which I am), but not necessarily religious.

What this book taught me most was the importance of forgiving myself. Her outpouring of love, hope and support just jumps off the page.  Her encouraging message helps you see the beauty in all of your experiences – even the unfortunate ones. She literally cheers her readers on throughout the book, paving the path of acceptance for all of us facing challenges in an inspiring, loving and forgiving way. As someone who is a perfectionist and very hard on myself, this lesson of self-forgiveness was huge and not lost on me.

This is the perfect text to lift you up and get you back to loving life, open and honestly.









  • Vicki @ Babies to Bookworms

    I will definitely have to add this one to my list! I definitely need to work on self forgiveness too. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Le

    I’m going to have to add this one to my wish list.

  • Sane Mama

    Wow, thanks for the review. EVERYONE’S been talking about this book, so I should probably get to it 🙂
    Good to know that nobody’s perfect, right?

    • Jen

      This book was huge in teaching myself to give myself grace. I needed that reminder. I’ve actually gone back and read parts of it that really spoke to me. It’s definitely one for the collection. I hope you enjoy it!