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1-Page Summary of Untamed
When you’re feeling down, it can be hard to remember what it feels like to feel good. The same is true when you’re on top of the world—those days when you can’t get out of bed seem like a bad dream. Keeping a diary and noting how your mood fluctuates helps give some perspective that will help you if you need help getting through those low times.
Have you ever felt trapped by your own life? Like you’ve built a life designed to please other people and neglected your desires? Glennon Doyle was very familiar with that feeling. She’d completely forgotten to ask herself, “Is this really what I want?”
When Doyle fell in love with another woman, she had to unlearn everything she’d been taught about living a good life. She started listening to her intuition and built a new life that fit with who she was.
The author details the key points of his story and how he did it, which will allow you to hold up a mirror to your life and identify areas where you are not free. It will also give you strategies for becoming untamed, embracing your desires, and designing a fulfilling life.
Glennon Doyle shares three key points about her life. First, she was able to embrace her sexuality and get closer to God. Second, she was able to start detoxing from racist beliefs by getting pregnant. Third, having a child saved her life.
Big Idea #1: The author of a memoir about her marriage fell in love with another woman.
Have you ever had a life-changing experience? Glennon Doyle certainly has. She met an American soccer player named Abby Wambach, and it changed her life.
Doyle was married and had never been attracted to another woman before. But as soon as she laid eyes on Abby, she felt a strong attraction that she couldn’t ignore.
Glennon Doyle writes about her marriage in a memoir, but she also fell in love with another woman.
Doyle was a popular Christian blogger and writer who had millions of followers. Her blog was popular for its honest advice on marriage and parenting, which she provided to her readers. She also published a book called Love Warrior that detailed how she and her husband managed to save their marriage after he cheated on her multiple times. The book painted a picture of the ideal family life with no problems whatsoever.
Although things seemed great, they weren’t. Craig’s marriage lacked intimacy and he didn’t actually feel attracted to his wife.
Doyle was reluctant to promote her book, Love Warrior. However, she had to do it because of her promotional duties. She was scheduled to give a presentation at a national book conference and met Abby Wambach there for the first time. Doyle couldn’t take her eyes off Wambach because she is an ex-professional soccer player who wrote a memoir herself.
As soon as she saw Abby, Doyle heard a clear voice in her head saying that this was the person she’d been looking for. Abby went around the room shaking hands with everyone and when she came to Doyle, it felt like they already knew each other. She hugged Abby even though they were strangers because it felt like coming home.
Abby and Doyle were both single, so they went out on a date. They found that they had a lot in common and felt an instant connection with each other. When Doyle touched Abby’s arm, she got goose bumps because it was the first time she’d ever been touched by someone she liked.
Big Idea #2: Doyle suppressed her true nature because she wanted to fit in with a sexist society.
A few years after Doyle met Abby, she and her children went to the zoo. There, they saw a cheetah that was beautiful but seemed sad because it was forced to chase fluffy toy animals around for people’s entertainment.
Doyle was very moved by her speech. She realized that she, too, had lost touch with her wild side and tried to be perfect in the eyes of society.
Doyle is a woman who needed to fit in with the sexist society of her time.
Doyle was very playful as a child, but she started to internalize societal messages that said girls should be obedient and pleasing. She also started thinking about how women should look thin and beautiful.
As soon as she did, she lost a vital connection with who she really was. She became depressed and anxious. This led to her binging and purging, which numbed the pain and drowned out her feelings. Another way of doing this was drinking heavily and taking drugs; it dulled her senses to anxiety and discomfort.
But then, when she was 26, she got pregnant. Standing in the bathroom holding the pregnancy test, she realized that if she decided to keep the baby, her life would have to change completely. She had been sober for a long time and wanted to stay that way. She also didn’t want to raise a child with an alcoholic father. So she married Craig and became a good mother and Christian woman.
After she became sober, her life got better. However, she was still living up to other people’s expectations. She wasn’t able to escape the sexist cages that she lived in and didn’t acknowledge her inner fire because it would destroy her family.
When Abby met Doyle, she knew that her animalistic desires would no longer be suppressed. It was as though the cheetah in captivity caught a whiff of the Serengeti and remembered its true nature. As if to say, “I’m not some domesticated pet—I’m a wild animal!” The little girl within Doyle began taking over her life again.
Big Idea #3: Doyle is a good mother because she learned to put herself first.
Doyle and Abby were in love, but they hadn’t met each other. They wrote letters back and forth to each other, even though it was a lot of work for them both. Their connection was undeniable; just one letter made them fall deeper in love with each other.
But how could they be together? They lived on opposite coasts and were both married to other people. However, Abby was in the process of splitting up with her wife. Doyle knew that if she really wanted to be with Abby, then she would have to leave her husband because it was too hard for them to see each other due to their long-distance relationship. She didn’t want a divorce but there wasn’t any guarantee that things would work out between them as well as no guarantee about raising children together since they had different parenting styles. One important thing cut through her doubts: imagining one of her daughters being in this same situation and asking herself what advice she’d give her daughter if one day it happened.
To be a good mother, Doyle had to put her own needs first.
Doyle realized that she had been using her children to justify staying in an unhappy marriage. She was teaching them that they should repress their needs and desires, which would lead to unhappiness for themselves and others.
Doyle decided to leave her husband even though she was in love with another man. She had seen what real love looked like and refused to settle for anything less. Therefore, she told her husband that she wanted a divorce because of someone else, while also making it clear that they would all stay together as a family.
Finally, Doyle put her own needs first and was honest with the people she loved. She still had to deal with millions of fans who admired her for being a Christian and dedicated to her husband.
Big Idea #4: Doyle came out of the closet, even though it was dangerous to do so.
In the midst of promoting her book, Love Warrior, Glennon Doyle faced a challenge. She’d been separated from her husband for a while and was dating someone else. Should she hide the truth or be honest with her readers?
Doyle’s publishing team was nervous about her memoir Love Warrior being picked for Oprah’s book club. They were worried that she would reveal too much and ruin her career. Doyle felt the opposite, saying that it wouldn’t be honest to keep things from people after everything she’d gone through with her husband.
Doyle knew that she didn’t want to lie about her decision to stay sober. She’d made a vow of integrity and wouldn’t do anything dishonest. It would be like lying on stage if she talked about marriage redemption, since it’s not something that she wanted for herself.
The key message here is that Doyle was willing to take a risk and reveal her sexuality in spite of the fact that it could have ruined her career.
Lying would go against the author’s beliefs. She made a promise to be honest, and she has been with her readers in her first memoir and on her blog. If she lied, it would damage their trust in everything else that she had ever told them.
She decided to be honest about what was going on. She posted a photo of her and Abby on Facebook, along with an explanation that she and Abby had fallen in love and were building a new kind of family together, co-parenting their children with Craig.
She logged off and decided to wait for the worst. But she was surprised when her decision was supported by her followers. Even though they didn’t understand why she did it, they still stood behind her.
Doyle’s career was also affected by her book. She had to promote it on tour, but she didn’t have to pretend that everything was perfect in her marriage anymore. Instead, Doyle could talk with fans about how complicated relationships are and how sometimes divorce is the best solution for a bad situation.
Big Idea #5: Doyle had to learn how to listen to her intuition in order to build a new life for herself.
While Doyle expected that her coming out would be hard, she didn’t anticipate the amount of opposition and criticism she faced. Some prominent Christian leaders claimed that she had abandoned her faith because of this revelation. Many in her community found it difficult to understand why she was leaving a marriage with someone who shared the same religious beliefs as herself. The hardest part was dealing with her mother’s disapproval of Doyle’s relationship with Abby.
Doyle trusted her mother’s opinion. However, she knew that when someone else’s opinions are involved, they could cause you to lose sight of what is important.
The author wants to communicate that Doyle had to learn to listen to her own intuition in order to build a new life.
Doyle knew that she had to develop a way to decide for herself. However, how? The motto “be still” inspired her to retreat into a closet in her house for ten minutes every day and listen closely. In the beginning, it was torture because Doyle felt like an “input junkie” going into detox, but she persisted.
Eventually, she was able to get in touch with her intuition. This helped her feel more relaxed and confident about the decisions that she made. When she listened to her inner voice, it would guide her towards making better choices. She felt warm and happy when she followed this advice; it felt like liquid gold flowing through her veins!
In this way, Doyle’s Knowing became her own personal guide. Armed with its wisdom, she dredged up all the core beliefs that had been instilled in her since childhood and asked herself if they were true for her or not.
She realized that some of her beliefs were outdated. For example, she used to think that being busy and productive was the only way to be worthy. Now, however, she doesn’t believe this anymore and can let go of any irritation when people aren’t as busy or productive as they should be.
Doyle used to be desperate for external validation, so she asked Google about her husband. However, after reconnecting with her intuition, she didn’t need to ask anyone else anymore.
Big Idea #6: Doyle began to question the church’s teachings when she became more spiritual.
Doyle’s new relationship with Abby affected all areas of her life. It especially affected how she approached her religion, as many Christians believe that being involved in a same-sex relationship is wrong. Doyle was an established member of the Christian community, but now she was in a relationship with a woman—something that many Christians believe to be an enormous sin. How could she possibly reconcile those different identities?
When Doyle was a child, her parents took her to church. She had an issue with the pastor’s statement that homosexuality and abortion were sins. He shut down any discussion about it and said she should simply trust him because he is right. Even before coming out as gay, she did not agree with this approach of blindly trusting someone else in your faith.
Doyle lost faith in the church when she strengthened her relationship with God.
Doyle had studied the Bible and was fascinated by Jesus’ dedication to social justice. He was pro-immigrant and pro-poor. He spent his life trying to uplift communities. Yet, many people twist his message into discriminating against immigrants and fighting for abortion rights.
A study by Doyle showed that this issue wasn’t prevalent until the 1970s, when a small group of evangelical leaders decided to push their political agenda. Nowadays, evangelicals are very influential in politics and have helped elect politicians such as Donald Trump, who uphold the anti-gay and anti-abortion agendas.
After some time, Doyle decided not to stop calling herself a Christian. She still calls herself one today. In fact, she believes that her decision to be with Abby has actually brought her closer to God because it allowed her to reconnect with this inner voice.
Doyle’s relationship with God has gotten stronger, but she is more skeptical of organized religion. She won’t accept any teaching that asks her to turn off her critical thinking skills. However, she will always believe in God and continue fighting for social justice.
Big Idea #7: Doyle accepted the pain and suffering in his life.
When Doyle’s oldest daughter, Tish, wanted to try out for a soccer team, he was worried. He knew she wasn’t athletic and would be upset if she didn’t make the team.
Abby believed that Tish was capable of playing soccer. Abby encouraged her to try out for the team, but Tish complained a lot and didn’t want to do it. However, she followed through with Abby’s advice and made the team.
In an attempt to protect Tish, Doyle almost prevented her from doing something that makes her feel most alive. This is the same mistake Doyle made in her own life.
The key message here is: Doyle’s ability to accept pain and suffering helped him live a full life.
Doyle had been numbing herself for 16 years to avoid pain. She was afraid of getting close to people and then having them leave her, so she didn’t let anyone get too close in the first place.
When she got sober, she started confronting her fears and pain. She realized that being unhappy or fearful simply means you’re alive. She memorized a motto from when she was a teacher: “We can do hard things.” Instead of running away from her problems, she learned to face them head on.
When she became attuned to her own pain, she was able to empathize with others. She used this empathy to inspire herself and others into action.
Doyle and his friends started Together Rising, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for people fighting for change in the world. They’ve raised $20 million dollars using an average donation of $25 from grassroots supporters.
Together Rising helps those who are suffering, as well as the people who donate and volunteer. These volunteers get to experience their own power when they work together to address pain and suffering rather than running away from it.
Big Idea #8: To get rid of her racist ideas, Doyle had to admit that she was a racist.
After Donald Trump was elected, there were more incidents of racism and violence against people of color. Doyle wanted to teach her daughters about the civil rights movement, but she was surprised by her oldest daughter’s response when they looked at a picture from that time period. The photo showed a crowd of black protesters and one white woman holding up a sign. When asked if they would have gone to the march back then, Doyle said yes right away before realizing what her daughter had said. She said no because things are different now than in the past, so why would we go marching?
Doyle’s daughter pointed out that she wasn’t doing anything to fight for racial equality. She agreed with the concept of racial equality, but didn’t take action by showing up at rallies or protests to support it.
The main idea here is: Doyle had to confront her own racism in order to detox from white supremacy.
The truth is that most of the time, Doyle doesn’t even see how deeply racism affects her country. She lives in a place where she sees mostly white people living their privileged lives largely untouched by racism. Doyle realized that she can believe in racial equality and still be racist because racism isn’t about individual beliefs; it’s about what we grow up absorbing.
Doyle remembers the racist jokes she heard growing up. She also remembers watching news coverage of black people getting arrested during the War on Drugs, and then seeing more arrests portrayed on TV shows like Cops. Doyle realized that her family had been raised to believe that black men are criminals and black women don’t matter.
It was hard for her to stop being racist. She had to detox from the ways she’d been brainwashed into believing in white supremacy. She started reading books by writers of color and learned about police brutality, the school-to-prison pipeline, and how immigrants are treated in detention centers.
After reading as much as she could and working with activists of color, Doyle started speaking up about white supremacy. She shares her experiences in trying to help other white women become racially sober.
Big Idea #9: Doyle lost the plot and gained her dreams.
Doyle wanted to be in control of the story of her life, so she felt furious when her husband cheated. She tried to repair the damage by writing a memoir about it and affirming that they were still a perfect family after all.
But if her husband’s betrayal was a plot twist, Abby’s arrival in her life was a narrative catastrophe. It forced Doyle to reconsider the stories she’d been telling herself about marriage, and how it should be. She had no idea where the story might go next.
The key message of this passage is that Doyle’s life changed for the better after she lost focus on her career and got back to basics.
In her life, she had to start using imagination because there was no script for how to be a good wife and mother. She needed to rebuild her life by imagining the best way possible. Imagination helped her create a new story about marriage and family. It allowed her to look past what’s currently happening in society and imagine something better.
Doyle’s relationship with Abby was constantly opposed, but she kept imagining that they were untouchable and would build a loving home together. In 2017, they got married, and since then have been building their marriage according to their dreams about how it could be.
The Doyles have created a family life that is more fulfilling than they could’ve imagined when Abby was longing for the perfect nuclear family. Her ex-husband lives down the road and visits often, playing soccer with them and actively parenting their children together.
It hasn’t always been easy for them. They’ve had to work hard to make their dreams come true. However, they’re now living the lives of their choosing and Doyle can finally let go of her repressed desires by channeling that fire into what she wants most in life.
Full Summary of Untamed
This book was written by Glennon Doyle. It was published by The Dial Press in 2020.
This book is a mix of first-person memoir and third-person analysis. The author explores what she learned about herself after ending her marriage to be in a love relationship with another woman.
Throughout this book, the first letters of chapter titles are lowercase. Each chapter is written in past-tense narration, except where noted.
The book begins with an anecdote about the author’s encounter with a cheetah at the zoo. He says that even though it was in captivity, its spirit and wildness were still there. This image of untamed-ness is a metaphor for what he talks about in this book.
The book is divided into three parts. The first part, titled “Caged”, explores the different ways Doyle felt caged in her life and how she coped with those feelings. She references struggles with eating disorders, psychiatric disorders, addictions, etc., as coping mechanisms to her experience of being caged. At Part One’s conclusion, she describes an encounter that opened doors for her by allowing freedom to enter her life.
The book also has four chapters that Doyle refers to as the “keys” to women opening their own cages and letting themselves experience the truths of who they are, and of who they want to be.
The third part of the book focuses on freedom. Doyle explores different ways that she experienced freedom and started to feel empowered by her decisions in life. She discusses how she began to share her experiences with others and wanted to help them find their own sense of freedom. She focused on young people, her own children, as well as other people’s children who were also trapped in cages created for them by society. She talks about the triumphs associated with finding your identity and claiming it for yourself.
In addition, Doyle also examines her own perspectives and the ways in which she has changed. She says that although she is still learning things about herself, she’s found new ways to change her life and help others do the same.
The book concludes with an epilogue in which Doyle suggests that readers ask the same questions of themselves.
Section 0 Summary (Pages xiii – 20)
The prologue is titled “Cheetah.” The author, Glennon Doyle, describes visiting a zoo with her wife and two daughters. They went to where the cheetah was kept, and watched a demonstration of how the cheetah, who had been named Tabitha, was trained. Doyle describes herself as thinking about how the cheetah had been trapped and trained into a routine that had left her “unaware that if she remembered her wildness – just for a moment – she could tear those zookeepers to shreds” (xv). After the demonstration, the zookeeper revealed that the cheetah had been born in captivity, and had no sense of what life in the wild was like. As she continued, Tish pointed to the cheetah who seemed to be stalking on edge of its enclosure. She said it looked regal; however this time instead of imagining what it might think or feel like being caged up all day long every day for years on end without seeing another one of its kind or ever having any idea why it’s there when others are free to roam wherever they want but instead only getting fed once a day at scheduled times while being shown off by humans dressed up in costumes pretending they’re not really animals but rather people wearing costumes pretending they’re animals while showing them off anyway because otherwise nobody would come see them since no one comes unless their trainers make them look happy so they can get paid more money which is also good because otherwise their owners won’t get paid enough money from ticket sales so then everyone loses out except for maybe some random person who gets lucky enough to win tickets from radio stations or whatever else even though most likely no one will win anything anyway even if you do enter your name because usually you don’t unless you have kids or something which means you’ll probably never win anything either way since almost nobody wins jack shit when entering contests okay? And yet still we continue doing these things despite knowing full well that nothing good will ever happen because we know deep down inside our hearts that nothing good happens anymore right? Not true! Because I’m here now telling you about this contest right now! So hurry up before someone else enters first!
The first chapter of the book is titled “Sparks”. Doyle begins by describing how she was married and had children, but fell in love with a woman who wanted to marry her. Her mother said that Doyle seemed alive at ten years old, which made her think about all the times she felt caged throughout her life. She talks about how people often conform to expectations rather than their own desires when they enter adulthood and accept their cages (their lifestyles). She mentions that around ten years old is when most people start bulimia as a way to release wildness or anger, and also says that she spent time in a psychiatric hospital because some thought she was crazy for wanting more out of life. However, she believes it’s not crazy if you’re unhappy with your cage (life), but instead think like an animal trapped in one – you’ll want freedom and space outside your cage. This leads into the introduction of the book, where Doyle explains why we should be grateful for our cages (lives) because they give us structure, but we shouldn’t stay there forever. Instead, we should re-think our lives so that we can find out what kind of person we were before society told us who to be.
The next chapter is about apples. In the present tense, Doyle recounts a story from her childhood when she was in Catholic school and learned about Adam and Eve’s sin of eating an apple from the tree of knowledge. She asks how this relates to childbirth since children are not born that way, but nobody answers her question. The teacher continues with the story, saying that God punished them for their transgression by casting them out of Paradise. This leaves young Doyle silent as she has no more questions at this time.
The next chapter is titled “blow jobs.” In present tense, Doyle talks about telling her marriage counselor that she’s in love with a woman named Abby. The counselor tells her that these feelings are not real and says he has heard similar situations before. He suggests she give her husband blow jobs because many women find them less intimate than intercourse.
In the next chapter, Doyle talks about how different types of shampoos and body washes have very different directions. For example, her son’s shampoo says something like “drop kick dirt then slam odor with a folding chair.” Her daughter’s says things like “alluring radiant gentle pure enticing touchable.” This shows that male children are still being taught to be bold and strong while female children are still being taught to be agreeable and desirable.
The next chapter is about polar bears. Doyle says that Tish was upset when her teacher told her how the polar bear population is dwindling. She became obsessed with them, but it got to a point where she was really annoying people around her. Then one night, Doyle realized what an important role Tish plays in their family and how rare it is for people like her to exist.
In the next chapter, Doyle describes her high school years. She writes that she desperately wanted to be a part of a certain group of people at school who were considered “cool.” In order to achieve this goal, Doyle and a friend marked tick marks next to their names while counting votes for Homecoming Court. This allowed Doyle’s name to appear on the ballot as though it had been voted for by many students when it really hadn’t. As she says in her book, “What makes this story unforgivable is the desperation,” which refers to how desperate people are supposed to be cool with being not-so-cool if they aren’t already considered cool (16).
Doyle continues writing about how she spent decades trying not to be herself because she was so afraid of what other people thought about her. She then writes that eventually, after working hard on becoming more confident in herself and realizing that no one can make you feel bad without your permission—a quote from author Louise Hay —she finally became comfortable with who she is and stopped worrying about what everyone else thinks all the time.