Friday, April 22, 2022

Book Review: Untethered: Faith, Failure and Finding Solid Ground 

By Marisa Appleton

When Laura Whitfield was fourteen, her brother, Lawrence, was killed in a mountain climbing accident. This changed Laura’s life forever, changing her outlook on life.

Laura spent her summer on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Those few months were the best time of her life, filled with friendship, beer and boys. After the summer of her life, Laura started to realise that the beach wasn’t the happy place she expected. Instead of returning to college, Laura moved to New York City to pursue a career in modelling. Yet again, Laura’s dream of being a high-flying New York model is quickly crushed. At her first agency, she is told to come back when she has lost 10 pounds. Laura doesn’t let this stop her. She encounters unexpected hurdles the whole way through her life. Making many wrong decisions, she eventually finds her Mr. Right and has her happy ever after.

This memoir by Laura Whitfield was unlike anything I’d ever read before. Not usually a fan of non-fiction, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Laura’s story! The story follows 14-year-old Laura in the years following the death of her brother, Lawrence. While studying his master’s degree at the University of Edinburgh, a freak accident killed Lawrence while he was climbing Ben Nevis – the highest mountain in Scotland. His death affected the whole family, especially Laura. Throughout the years after, she turned to religion, using God to help her find her way. While at times, she loses her way in life, she always makes her way back to life. I found it really admirable the way Laura discussed her mistakes. She didn’t blame herself or anyone else, she just acknowledged that things happen sometimes, and life isn’t always perfect. 

Sometimes, however, I did find myself feeling frustrated at Laura. Just as she was about to get everything she wanted, she would change her mind or go back on her decision. For example, she was finally offered a modelling contract at a top agency but left NYC after another doomed relationship. Sometimes her mistakes could be blamed on her naivety such as deciding to go to New York in the first place after being encouraged to model by her crush at the Outer Banks. This frustration, though, came from wanting Laura to do well and get her life together. Obviously, since it is a memoir, I won’t be too critical of her. The mistakes did add a level of relatability. We have all made mistakes and bad decisions, but this is part of life. Reading it really did feel like listening to a friend tell you stories. I felt fully immersed in her stories and it has left me with lots to think about. I finished this book in less than a day, I enjoyed it so much! Laura is an excellent writer and storyteller so I hope to see more of her soon! 

Overall, I really recommend Untethered: Faith, Failure and Finding Solid Ground even if non-fiction isn’t your usual read. The life lessons within teach about embracing your sexuality, overcoming shame, and taking risks. This story of a normal girl living her life is truly inspiring and is definitely worth the read!

Thanks to BookSparks for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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