WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
Type: Autobiography, Christian, Non-fiction, Self-Help
Basic Idea: Rachel Hollis talks about the hardest parts of her life and how she overcame them and learned to work through them.
Writing Style and Setup: 4/5 Well Done: Ms. Hollis has a friendly, conversational style that makes you feel like she is really sitting with you and talking to you personally. It makes a great combination that sounds like your best friend is giving you much needed life advise. She is very straightforward and no-nonsense, not beating around the bush, while at the same time very encouraging.
Reliability of Information: 3/5 Good Experience In Some Areas: Ms. Hollis is an extremely successful business woman, CEO of her own company and appearing on “Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30.” When it comes to balancing her life, being content, and fulfilling her dreams, she’s got it pretty figured out. As for spiritual content, Ms. Hollis grew up a Pentecostal preacher’s daughter and does attend church, but is a liberal Christian in many of her standards (such as drinking) and how she looks at others (one of her best friends is a lesbian).
Moral: 3/5 Some Great, Applicable Morals: This book is filled with great, no-nonsense morals ranging from not giving up on your God given dream to respecting yourself and others to communicating with your loved ones. A few of the morals do have the whole “just never judge anyone and accept everyone exactly as they are” or tend to have a human centered view rather than a Christ centered one, which can definitely be more harmful than helpful to a person’s spiritual walk, but a lot of the morals in here are great ones that I would recommend to everyone I know. In short, this is the kind of book I would go to for motivation or hard work, but not on how to be more spiritual.
Overall: 3½ Above Average: I would recommend this book for women that are starting something new, whether it’s starting a business, marriage, or child rearing, it will encourage and teach them how to be a positive, successful person. I think young adult women and older teenager girls would like it best, though some older women may find encouragement and motivation from its pages. This book is not for everyone though, as few books are.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 4/5 Explicit Sexual Term and Suggestive Themes: Ms. Hollis has a chapter on how she learned to get a hold on her sex life as a married woman. She does use an explicit term for a bodily functions and talks about her opinions on fetishes, mentioning dirty talk, leather, and lingerie. Ms. Hollis also talks about meeting her husband, which turned into flirting and led to hugging, staying overnight, showing off her body, and eventually sex. She says she “was a booty call” at that time. She mentions having kissed a few boys and wondering what to do if someone tried to kiss her or hold her hand.
She mentions that her novel was turned down because she refused to write sex scenes in it, partially she thinks because she wrote it in the era when Fifty Shades of Grey became a thing. Ms. Hollis says she has a “boob thing” next to her arm when she wears a tank top. She mentions a girl who’s breast developed early. She mentions that she has sex to relieve stress. She mentions that social workers asked her children if anyone ever touched them in inappropriate places. She mentions making our (and not making out) once specifically with her husband. She mentions that wearing an eye patch “was sexy,” as well as that she drank wine to feel that way. She says that Jesus accepted everyone, including prostitutes. She says that one of her workout fantasies is that hot celebrities will hit on her and then she “tells [them she’s] happily married.” Pornography is briefly mentioned as being negative and as an example for something. She calls bras “the Devil’s work.” Gynecologists and bikinis are respectively briefly mentioned. She mentions that a man she was dating flirted with other people.
Violence: ½/5 Brief Mention: Ms. Hollis jokes that she will “rip off [her son’s] arms and whack him over the head with them” if he “rolls his eyes one more time.” For real violence, she briefly mentions that she saw a little boy hit his brother.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 1/5 Brief, Light Cursing: “Pissed” is misused once. “Sucks” is misused once. “Geez” is said once and “gosh” three times.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 3½/5 Heavy Topics: Ms. Hollis talks about her brother’s suicide from schizophrenia and OCD, discussing the trauma she had to overcome as she discovered his body. She also talks about the emotionally abusive home she lived in, which was at times was filled with bed ridden depression from her mom and broken things. Outside of this, the author talks often about crying and emotionally being distraught over bad things in her life, though she always eventually gets back up.
Ms. Hollis talks in detail about overwork causing her Bell’s palsy, neuralgia and vertigo, erroneously wondering if she had had a stroke and brain tumor. She mentions for others she knows that it has caused hives and insomnia. She talks about when she got mono. She tells a joke about a man who drowns because he never accepts help. Urinary tract infection, lepers, and feeling like throwing up are respectively briefly mentioned. She mentions social workers asked her children if their parents hit them and the parents if they have shaken babies. She mentions people dying in general. “Blood,” forms of “death,” “kamikaze,” “killing,” “gut me,” “murder,” “punched,” “sore,” are used for descriptive purposes. She briefly jokes about paranoia over being murdered.
Religious Issues: 1/5: Ms. Hollis was the decedent of a line Pentecostal preachers. She went to First Assembly of God and Presbyterian churches. The WEB version of the Bible is used.
Besides Christianity, she talks about going to a homeopathic therapist to help her with her health problems, mentioning that she was almost desperate enough to “cure [it] with voodoo and the sacrifice of a spring chicken.” She says her therapist had crystals and a Ganesh statue, and she sarcastically mentions chakras. She says that she is willing to be friends with all people and that we shouldn’t judge if other religions are right or wrong, whether they be Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Mormon, or even Jedi. She admits once that her views on certain things may not match up with the Holy Spirit’s views. She mentions the movie The Exorcist and mentions that it had priests and holy water. There is brief mention of “the saints” and “luck.” “Alien,” “the Devil’s work,” “guru” forms of “haunt,” “hippies” and “vampires” are used for descriptive purposes.
Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention: Ms. Hollis mentions vampires and werewolves in media. “Changeling,” “magical,” and “magic” are used for descriptive purposes. No magic is done in the book.
Others: Ms. Hollis has a chapter about her times when she was drinking to deal with her stress, but eventually how she overcame this problem. She mentions bars, champagne, Chardonnays, cocktails, happy hour, Midori Sour, tequilas, vodka, wine, and her husband being drunk. She mentions that twice she drank underage. She says a box of wine (or other reward) is great to help you relax.
Lots of celebrities are mentioned such as Adele, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Burl Ives, Deborah Harkness, Edith Head, Elizabeth Taylor, George Cloony, the Hemsworth brothers, Kayne, Kevin Bacon, Kim Kardashian, Julia Child, Lionel Richie, Matt Damon, Maya Angelou, Oprah, Paris Hilton, Paul Newman, Phil Collins, Ray J, Rick Springfield, Ryan Gosling, Sammy Davis Jr., Tim Burton Movies, Tony Robinson, and TV shows like Avatar, Cat on a Hot Tin roof, Creed, Doogie Howser, The Exorcist, Footloose, HGTV, Game of Thrones, Good Will Hunting, Social Media like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest are mentioned. Country music, “Dancing on the Ceiling,” E!, Edward Cullen, Forbes, The Grapes of Wrath, “Hello,” Hercules, I’m Not Your Guru, Jiminy Cricket, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Oklahoma!, Party Girl and Sweet Girl, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, are mentioned. She mentions that she went to the Oscars and Disneyland. and worked at Marimax. She mentions divorce and talks about her parent’s divorce. Ms. Hollis says one of her best friends is a lesbian, and recalls the first time she saw men holding hands. She says that she used to say “that’s gay” derogatorily but says she now doesn’t anymore. She mentions smoking, piercings, and tattoos. She mentions babies having drugs in them. She mentions getting a tattoo. She talks about going to hip-hop classes. She mentions that she doesn’t wear yoga pants, and yoga is briefly suggested among other things. Ballet is briefly mentioned. She mentions the “Whip/Nae Nae” and “Cha-Cha Slide” dances and Zumba. “Addict waiting for a high,” “ballet,” “dance,” “drum solo,” “Sam I Am,” and “smoke crack” are used for descriptive purposes.
Overall: 4/5 Adult Appropriate: My feelings about recommending it morally are mixed. To start, it does have some heavy content only appropriate for adults, such as having a great sex life, the suicide of her brother, and her drinking problem. Outside of this, her views on life our very liberal, not being afraid to occasionally curse or drink if she feels like doing so. As I stated earlier, this is not a book I would go to for spiritual advise, but rather motivational, as her views of God tend to be in some ways contradictory to the reality of things. Yes, God loves and accepts us, but no, that doesn’t mean everything just mixes together as it is in a big, beautiful, messy creation, whether you’re saint, prostitute, or mother. God wants to change us for the better, make us new, before we can enter into his presence. To conclude, this is also a book I would not recommend to every Christian morally, especially those under eighteen or people who just got saved.