I guess you could say the Duggars are my guilty pleasure; I watch their show “18 Kids and Counting,” previously titled “17 Kids and Counting,” religiously and I’ve seen all the specials on their lives, starting with “14 Kids and Pregnant Again.” I can also recite the names of their children in order — all the way from Joshua to Jordyn-Grace. (Just reread that and just realized how creepy that sounds.)
Although I fundamentally disagree with everything the stand for, I find their family utterly fascinating, and so I turned to their autobiography to learn about what the show doesn’t show you. The Duggars: 20 and Counting! is an easy read that offers a wealth of information about the Duggars that the show skipped over, especially the Duggars’ life before they had fourteen children. They share two little tidbits in the discipline and in the kitchen department that really worried me — they use paper plates since washing 60 dishes a day would be too much. Imagine if everyone on the planet had this large of families, which is their ultimate goal, and therefore had to rely on paper plates. Landfills would be overflowing!
And they answer that “burning” question as to why they give all their children ‘J’ names. They loved the names Joshua, John-David, and Jana, so when Jill was born, they didn’t want her to be the only one without a ‘J’ name. Normally this amount of religion would begin to bother me after a while, but when it comes to the Duggars, I knew to expect that every page would involve some sort of reference to their religious views.
However, there are to stylistic choices that really bother me — one due to publishing format and another due to narrative format. In the book, the sidebars are stuck right in the middle of the text, which interrupts the flow of the narrative, and the sidebars often have nothing to do with what that page is talking about. As for the narrative problem, both Jim Bob and Michelle refer to themselves as ‘I’ in the book. Therefore, there are several instances where the reader has no clue as to who is talking, and as a result of this confusion, they rely on “I (Michelle) … I (Jim Bob)” to correct this problem, which only aggravated me more.
- Duggar, Michelle, and Jim Bob Duggar. The Duggars: 20 and Counting! : Raising One of America’s Largest Families — How They Do It. New York: Howard Books, 2008. Print. 234 pgs. ISBN: 9781416585633. Source: Library.
Book Cover ©