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Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Duggars: 20 and Counting!...Review

About the book:
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.

While I am, admittedly, not a television watcher, I have seen one or two of the shows about the Duggar family. They fascinate me. So, when I saw that this book was available, I picked it up at the library.

Jim-Bob and Michelle Duggar are an Arkansas couple with 18 children. Their oldest is 20 and recently married, and the youngest is an infant. They share their story: how they each grew up, how they met and fell in love and how they came to have so many children. They also share their financial history: how and why they made the decisions they made and how those decisions came to affect who they are today. How they came to be on the Discovery Channel and how they built their home is also documented.

After their first son was born, Michelle went on birth control pills. When she had a miscarriage, their doctor said that it was likely because of the birth control. They decided, then, that they wouldn't dictate how many children they had, but that they would let God decide.

They home school with a Christian-based curriculum. The book shares their ideas for raising and disciplining children, as well as managing a large family. I found many of the ideas interesting and sound. I admire them for the way they do everything with a God-based foundation. I don't understand their "Fundamental Christian" faith. Regular church attendance doesn't seem to be a part of it, and they admit to "using Old Testament teachings even though as New Testament Christians they don't apply". I don't understand that selective Christianity.

In the interviews and excerpts from the show that I've seen, Michelle is very sweet. I don't think she ever loses her temper. I only have two children and I have never managed that calm sweetness. I do admire the fact that they honestly seem like a happy, healthy, well-adjusted family. Sprinkled throughout the book are favorite family recipes as well as email questions they've received and their, or sometimes their children's answers. There is also an extensive reference section.

Overall, an interesting, easy read.

Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 3/09

* * *

3/5 Stars


  1. I read the book also and found it very informative. Are you a Duggar fan?

  2. I'm not necessarily a "fan". I don't watch their show (we don't have television), but I am aware of who they are and I do have respect for them.

  3. I admire them so much. I think it would be great to have that many brothers and sisters.