The TM community needs some levity right now, so I’m uploading my book review a little early. 🙂
When Teen Mom 2 star Kail Lowry first announced she was releasing a second autobiographical book entitled Hustle & Heart, people were quick to question how it would be any different than her first book. Kail released Pride Over Pity in April 2014, and even then people questioned what kind of early 20-something releases a memoir. Pretty much the only change in these past two years was her relationship fallout with Javi Marroquin.
But if you were expecting juicy deets on Kail and Javi’s break up in this second memoir, you’ll be very disappointed.
So what will you get? Repeats of the same stories you read in the last book interwoven with a 24-year-old’s grand ideas of philosophy and life lessons. Basically, Kail has written a patronizing and hypocritical self-help book that she truly believes is filled with precious nuggets of wisdom to inspire her teeny-bopper fans. The platitudes are obvious yet at times completely incompatible.
For her target demo, it may well hit the mark. But you are here for the snark, right? So let’s get started by analyzing all of the hypocritical bullshit in the official Modern Topics review of Hustle & Heart. (Note: This review does not include what I assume is the fantabulous adult coloring book. Sorry, y’all. I have my limits.)
Kail simultaneously deeply cares yet doesn’t give a shit what other people think about her
Kail claims that she’s tired of living up to other people’s expectations. She has even stopped taking advice from well-meaning friends and family because their suggestions don’t brown nose her “accomplishments” and “hard work” enough. Kail spends much of the book preaching that her readers should not give much credence to what other people think. Just do your own thing, like Sophia, and don’t worry about other people’s opinions.
The gist here is that she thinks she’s matured from a person who was very concerned with how others perceived her to one who embraces personal change and growth and does whatever she wants.
And yet! She spends a large portion of the book talking about how she has to prove everyone wrong. She wants to prove that she’s overcome her “white trash” roots by obtaining a Bachelor’s degree and raising well-mannered children. We get it, Kail. You own a very clean BMW and get Starbucks every day. I mean, these are the hallmarks of making it in life, right?
But which is it Kail? Do you care what everyone thinks or not? Sounds like deep down you really, truly care what others think of you and will say—and pay—anything to make them think you’ve overcome.
Kail says you should love yourself the way you are—unless you just want a bigger butt
In chapter 2, Kail admits she struggled with low self-esteem stemming from the lack of love from her parents. This led to an eating disorder which she decided to take control of with CrossFit. After 14 months of not seeing results with a “healthy diet and exercise,” she decided to get plastic surgery.
(Really?! If I wasn’t seeing results after 14 months of that insane tire-hauling shit, I’d be taking my ass to an endocrinologist to find out what the hell was wrong with me. But I digress!)
She says she knew being happy with her outer appearance would give her “the confidence [she] needed to face the world head on.” But she says a few sentences later, “Don’t get it twisted. Loving yourself has very little to do with outer beauty at all!”
“Accepting who you are as a person, including your flaws, is a necessary component when it comes to gaining the superpower that is self-love,” says Kail. She anticipates the criticism by saying people who think she should have just accepted her body without plastic surgery should “Go worry about your own butts.”
Why? My butt is fantastic! No worries here. I’m just sayin’, these are two very incongruous thoughts. I’m not a cosmetic surgery hater at all. But you have to admit that if you needed a bigger ass to have “confidence to face the world,” then you shouldn’t really be preaching about your self-anointed “superpower” of self-love.
Sorry to break it to you, but you’re nowhere near the emotional maturity you portray yourself to be, Kail. Maybe try writing this inspirational memoir again when you reach the peak of wisdom at 27 years old?
Dear Teenagers: Babies truly can solve everything!
Kail starts off with something good here. She says the phrase “Follow your heart” can be dangerous if you are teen with a background of neglect and/or abuse. Basically, you’ll go looking for love in all the wrong places (Looking for love in all the wrong faces!)
We hear again about Kail’s reckless decisions as a teen, including smoking pot (but not posting it on social media, VEE!), getting in fights, getting suspended from school, and falling for boy after boy. We see the sidewalk sex story again….and the subsequent abortion on her sixteenth birthday. But while all of this chaos was going on, it was having Isaac that rescued her from her despair.
“All my life I had just wanted to be loved,” writes Kail. “But ultimately it was loving my child that filled that empty space.”
This is a sweet sentiment in a way. She talks a bit about how becoming a mother exposes you to an unconditional love for someone that you never thought possible, and I’m sure most moms would agree. However, it’s again just incongruous with her statement to not “Follow your heart” to bad places. Because dreaming she could shack up with Jo and have his parents take her on as a daughter really did end up fulfilling her emotional needs, regardless of how unhealthy they were.
God help all the Victoria’s who will read this book!
Kail treads into dangerous territory here by suggesting that having a baby when she was completely unstable and unprepared financially or emotionally—and still a teenager—was somehow the thing that cured her deepest emotional dysfunctions. I hope all the teens reading this garbage realize that babies cannot solve your childhood problems!
On toxic family members
Kail writes that she gets tired of people not understanding why and how she cut her mother and father out of her life. She says she admits she can hold a grudge, but also doesn’t think you have to forgive people. Her advice: “Never let anyone tell you that you have to accept mistreatment from someone because they are family.”
I really don’t have much to argue here, but I would think that forgiving is part of the emotional process of letting go of anger and hatred and moving forward with peace. (But what do I know? I was only in therapy for that shit for two years.) From the amount Kail whines about her parents in this book, it’s clear she’s not over it. You can cut the toxic people out and still carry that toxicity around as grudging anger and an unhealthy obsession with your traumatic past.
Real “family” is friends who buy your stupid shit
Kail writes that friends can essentially replace family, as they did for her. She even gives a shout out to Sterling for buying dozens of her books and t-shirts to give out to her own family and friends. That’s literally the only thing she says about Sterling. Poor Sterling. So many years of solid friendship, and that’s your legacy in Kail’s book.
Kail basically says she wants friends who are emotionally needy so she can rise to the occasion and prove how great of a person she is. I’m serious. Here’s the quote:
“When I say I choose friends based on what they bring into my life, I don’t want it to sound like I just look for people who will do things for me. Part of what they bring into my life is a belief in mutual respect. They don’t just treat me well, they expect me to treat them well, too. In other words, their standards are as high as mine. So one of the most important values they add to my life is that their expectations encourage me to be my best self.”
Jeez, Kail. Don’t snap your arm patting yourself on the back so hard. Being a good friend to someone who is a good friend to you is not a pinnacle of virtue to hang your hat on. Being a good person to strangers and even to enemies is the typical virtue standard.
Y’all are just envious, hatin’ bullies!
Ahhh. We’ve gotten to the part where Kail defends herself against online “hatter” accusations that she’d be nothing without MTV. As part of her argument, Kail lists all the things she wouldn’t have without MTV.
She says MTV is “not a charity.” MTV didn’t write her books. (But they did give you the fame to make them salable!) MTV didn’t do her homework to get her “almost straight As.” (But they did pay for your tuition and allow you to be a “stay-at-home-student!”) MTV didn’t get her kids to school in the morning. (But they did make it possible for you to not have a normal 8-5 job so you could actually be there in the morning!)
Kail assures us that she was wise with her MTV money. She could have blown it all, but instead “invested” it in taking her life to a “higher level.”
When relationships get hard, don’t let love hold you back. If you disagree on anything, fuck that shit.
Kail claims that love should never “hold you back” if you are not happy in a relationship. When the spark is gone and you no longer greet your man at the door dressed to the nines, it’s time to reconsider where shit is headed.
When you start to argue over what to watch on Netflix, it’s time to reevaluate whether this relationship is worth your time because a strong couple should agree on everything all the time, even politics.
I’m not kidding. Here’s the excerpt:
“And maybe your Netflix quarrels about which show to watch turn into actual fights where suddenly the fact that he likes comedies and you like documentaries spirals into a heated discussion of the differences in your political opinions. By this point, you’ve probably spent so much time with this person that you’ve become complacent. You’re both generally happy. Generally. …. It’s up to you to take a close and honest look at the big picture of your relationship .… [H]ow is the relationship affecting your happiness?”
This same theme recurs later in the book when Kail talks about her sudden dream to open a blowdry bar. She began the process of applying for a bank loan with a 34-page business plan, but Javi was not agreeable with the situation, and Kail took it very personally, saying she felt she was losing her “teammate.”
I dunno, everyone’s marriage is different. But risking tens of thousands of dollars is probably something that should be mutually agreed upon in a healthy marriage. My husband has started several businesses, and each time we sat down and agreed on the financial risk and the amount of time it would take away from the family along with the understood addition of familial stress.
I mean, isn’t it possible Javi saw that having two kids, college classes, homework, a house to take care of, her MTV “job,” and a brick-and-mortar business in which she has zero experience while Javi was overseas might be too much?
Is it possible that Javi poorly worded his opposition? Probably. But this is Kail we’re talking about here, who earlier in the book took pride in her non-sugar-coating straight-forwardness.
Kail admits she and Javi attempted couple’s therapy several times.
Sometimes holding on to a dream is not a good idea, says Kail. She hung onto Jo too long, even when she caught him cheating while she was pregnant with Isaac. She thought she had her “fairytale ending” the day she married Javi, but….! Within a few years, shit fell apart. They tried couple’s therapy, but it didn’t cut it. She says there was not a big fight or scandal, but an accumulation of little things like the blowdry bar fiasco.
Kail says Javi became “controlling and jealous.” She says although she had never lied or gone behind his back, he wanted to check her phone and called her constantly when she was out with friends. She says she considered more couple’s therapy but ultimately decided on divorce.
Rumor has it that Kail and Javi are currently filming Marriage Bootcamp where they will apparently pretend to be interested in working out just to get another TV paycheck.
So are you “holding on to a dream” or will you admit to faking it for money?
Kail summarizes her ancient wisdom by telling you to decide your own standards in life, but don’t be afraid of change or leaving one thing to seek something better.
“I don’t know where I’ll be a few years from now,” she closes. “But my heart is telling me I’m not done with my journey.”
No shit, Kailyn! You’re like 24! Your journey is far, far from over.
You likely got another 50 years of doling out your pompous sagacity in autobiographical format every two years. That’s another 25 books! Better start stretching out those fingers
I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I can’t wait to learn what Kail can teach me about life, love and philosophy in 2018.