I purchased this book a year ago the day it first came out. I bought a copy for both me and my sister, since, at the time, we were both huge Jon & Kate fans. Actually, I was a Jon fan, my sister was a Kate fan. A year later I have finally read it. I'm quite glad I waited, given the outcome of their marriage.
What I liked:
Since I prefer to be positive when I can, I'll start with what I liked about the book. I liked how every chapter began with a Bible verse that foreshadowed what the upcoming chapter would be about. I also liked how the book intertwined religious aspects, constantly referencing Kate's gratitude to God for getting her through each trying time of her life. I also enjoyed hearing the story of Jon & Kate prior to their show on TLC. In short, they struggled to have kids, and underwent fertility treatments in order to get pregnant with the twins and later the sextuplets. At the beginning of the book, it was hard to imagine this was the same Kate who I watched on television so often. In the first few chapters, I felt she genuinely expressed her gratitude toward Jon for his patience during her tribulations at getting pregnant both times, as well as other sincere remarks regarding other events in her life up to that point. The book talked extensively about how many volunteers were required, for at least up to one year regularly, to help the Gosselin's get through each day. I found it remarkable that they were able to make it through some very trying times financially and how there were so many generous people donating their money, time, or supplies. I kept trying to put myself in their shoes, and I can only imagine how difficult it would have been accepting people's generosity. I would feel so guilty taking all those donations, but at the same time, it was so wonderful that people were reaching out. I think the Gosselin's truly needed those donations, and I'm not judging them at all for accepting them – I'm sure they had no choice! I was overwhelmed just reading their story about their financial and emotional struggles. One thing is very clear to me – Kate loves her children. The book was also well written. It had a nice flow, and I had a very easy time reading it and getting right back into it each time. It also took me just 5 days to read.
What I Didn't Like:
As I was getting ready to write this blog entry, I was examining the outside of the book and happened to notice that the book was categorized as: Religion/Christian Life/Family. I found this very ironic considering the recent events in their life. Kate talked extensively in the novel about how God gave her strength through this and that, and how Jon was her rock, but how much of that was real? Trying to look at it strictly from the book's point of view, and not the show, I did at first think I had it all wrong in the beginning of the novel. Kate, at first, seemed quite selfless. However, as the book went on, her true self began to shine – her demanding, abrasive, impatient, selfish self. I also wondered what part of the book Jon took part in, since it was written in Kate's voice and from her perspective throughout, yet his name was on the book as the author.
In the end, knowing what the outcome of this life of "thriving" with multiples was, I felt sad, mostly for the children, that this life quickly fizzled out. As I sat here writing this, a commercial came on TLC announcing the series finale of Jon & Kate Plus 8. Just watching that commercial also made me feel sad – sad for those kids, and sad for a marriage that seemed to dissolve so quickly and easily. If I would have read this book a year ago, hearing how strong Kate supposedly is in her faith in God, I would have never expected their marriage to end. If you had once been a fan of the show like me, I think you can continue to live your life just fine without having read this book. It doesn't change my thoughts or opinions about the situation this family is going through, it just makes me feel worse. I give this book 2.5 stars out of 5.
Next up – For One More Day by Mitch Albom.