A Love That Multiples Review: Introduction – Testy Already

A Love That Multiples Review: Introduction – Testy Already October 8, 2013

by Calulu cross posted from her blog True Love Doesn’t Rape

Introduction – “Our Biggest Test Begins”

For the last year I’ve been gingerly attempting to read this book for the purposes of writing a review. Invariably what would happen is I would either snort in outrage or be triggered by some statement straight out of my old fundamentalist life and I’d end up abandoning the book in it’s entirety for months.

Let me state for the record that I am not a Duggar family fan. In fact, I believe they may be the most dangerous weapon that the Evangelical Right has.

How so? The Duggars show the lifestyle of Quiverfull in a way so attractive that it fools the average American television viewer into thinking that while the Duggars lead a lifestyle that is religious it is essentially harmless. You see a well-scrubbed, polite, behaved and parent-honoring brood of children without seeing any of the usual reality of families like theirs.

Sometimes I look at their family and think about that old horror movie “The Children of the Corn”

It’s the equivalent of sausage commercials, you see the beautifully cooked sausages arranged with loving care on an attractive porcelain plate without seeing the raising of the hogs, the kill floor, and the processing plant where those hogs are run through the grinders and stuffed into the casings. It skips all the unpleasant realities of the situation that have to happen for the sausages to land on that pretty china.

The Duggars show a side to American viewers, that while it does exist, it glosses over the things that led to this. Through the years references to ATI, blanket training and a slew of other things in the Duggaralia have disappeared as they’ve refined their message to the masses to make Quiverfull more socially desirable.

Most Duggar-like Quiverfull families you see are living fifteen children of all ages in a tiny three bedroom house with one bathroom. Bedrooms stacked with bunkbeds like cordwood. Second hand possessions and donated items. Financial struggles and some hardship. If I was one of them I’d be seriously pissed about how easy and perfect the Duggars make it all seem.

If this is what you want and you know going in that it might be a struggle that’s one thing, but to see the Duggars and accept their lifestyle as it is shown is being horribly deceived.

On to the book.

I was interested in reading the book because of the fact that this was the book that dealt with the challenges the family faced when their reproductive gambling came up snake eyes. How did the family manage to function during the premature birth of Josie Duggar. The birth of a premature baby would put undue stressers on any family, but might be a special challenge for a bigger family.

Usually this is where I would complain about how the Duggar fecundity would be sheer foolishness due to the advancing age of Michelle Duggar and the many children she’d birthed. Even statistics show that the older the mother is and the more births the odds are good something bad will eventually happen. You can only throw that hot dog down the hallway so many times before the door knobs get dented and floor greasy.

The introduction starts with Michelle describing Friday, December 4, 2009, before Josie and her early arrival. By the second paragraph you get a good taste of how ‘abnormal’, even by evangelical Christian measure, the day to day is in the Duggar family. The day starts with the kids getting ready for a film crew, grooming, chores, music practice and homeschooling. Half of the children are packing for an El Salvador mission trip. The first mention is the filming, not that the children should study or clean. Getting ready for filming took first priority.

The day was eaten up by the filming of the Australian film crew, the way the book reads the filming was the most important part of the busy day. Reenforces exactly what the priorities of JimBob and Michelle really are, raising their children in the media eye. Any publicity is good according to the gospel of JimBob. Even if it interferes with school and chores.

During much of the day Michelle was resting, thinking she was passing a kidney stone. But it’s obvious something more is going on and she goes to the hospital for tests. She managed to put off going to the hospital until after the film crew left.

I will give her credit for taking full advantage of modern medicine instead of shunning it and ending up with a much worse outcome.

The rest of the introduction was spend on babbling over how their faith would be tested and how even the very marital relationship would be challenged. Hey, but at least they don’t have to worry about keeping the house clean or having to find someone to babysit the kids. Built in ‘Buddies’ run everything.

JimBob broke the news to the kids, telling them that momma and baby might die:
“Pray hard,” Jim Bob would tell them as tears welled up in his eyes. “Pray to God for Mama and for the baby; pray like you’re never prayed before!”

Comments open below

Read everything by Calulu!

Calulu lives near Washington DC , was raised Catholic in South Louisiana before falling in with a bunch of fallen Catholics whom had formed their own part Fundamentalist, part Evangelical church. After fifteen uncomfortable years drinking that Koolaid she left nearly 6 years ago. Her blogs are True Love Doesn’t Rape and  Calulu – Seeking The Light

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce

 

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  • Anne

    That’s what really bothers me about the Duggars too. You worded it perfectly.

    Everything looks so shiny and clean and appealing. They have their fancy commercial grade appliances, clean spacious living room, big bedrooms with nicely painted walls, plenty of food, a beautiful yard… Most of the large families I knew growing up did NOT live like that in any way shape or form. Everything was dirty and sticky including the kids, the rooms were small, the cupboards were almost bare, the yard was scrubby, mom was tired, and they NEVER got to go on even one international trip. A road trip in the family van to go visit relatives was a once a year treat.

    The Duggars are presenting nothing more than a beautiful fairy tale. It’s like the Kardashians saying “just move to California and you’ll live like us!” It’s deceptive and I think cruel, because the poor mothers who are living their unglamorous QF life are probably feeling like they’re failing.

  • texcee

    On the one hand, I sympathize as a woman for another woman who nearly lost her baby and nearly died herself. On the other hand, I have NO sympathy for a woman who foolishly pushes her body to the very edge and endangers her child by trying to set some self-appointed contest to see how many kids she can push out for Jesus.

  • Saraquill

    She’s in intense pain but waits until filming is done to go to the hospital.

    If children are so important to her, why would she risk the life of her then unborn baby, and risk leaving all her kids without a mother?

  • Madame

    I agree, especially that it’s very cruel.
    Of course, they will point out how “blessed” and “thankful” they are, but that only makes the struggling QF family wonder what they’ve done wrong that God isn’t blessing them with a smooth-running family, a decent home and a car that seats them all comfortably (or just legally).

  • Madame

    Just shows where their priorities lie.
    Of course, they probably see the TV show as some sort of “ministry”.

  • gimpi1

    “Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.”
    – Otto von Bismarck

    Perhaps that applies to life in large families too? : )

  • I’ve always said that. They have a TV show, so have more money. So unrealistic. Every large family in our community either lived in a bad part of town or a tiny 1000 square foot home. Except nor family I knew whose dad was a doctor.

  • texcee

    Did anyone see that Michelle and Jim Bob have announced that they’re going to “try” for a 20th child? Michelle is 47 now. And have they forgotten Jubilee, the baby they lost? Wasn’t SHE their 20th child?

  • Anne

    Plus the miscarriage they had early on after Joshua. I think that would make it 21.