Admittedly, I am not a television watcher. While I am aware of the Jon & Kate show, I think I have only watched one complete episode, and clips here and there. I have seen a great deal of criticism leveled at Kate Gosselin for her obsessive/anal organization and perceived criticism of her husband. I read the book out of curiosity and I'm glad I did.
I liked it. Kate is a strong, straight-forward person. She's honest and frank about their life. The book begins with their marriage and quickly moves into their fertility issues. They didn't set out to have sextuplets. They wanted one more child, but their belief that every life has a purpose wouldn't let them abort any of their babies. Doctors can call it "selective reduction" but it's abortion, plain and simple.
Kate chronicles her fears through her pregnancy and the pain and difficulties, but also her faith that God would see her through it and that her children would be healthy. She gives credit to her husband for his patience and love and praises him for being a good husband and father. Their relationship comes across as a true partnership. Once the children are born, she writes of the overwhelming task before them: to care for 6 premature babies and not neglect their 3-year old twins or their own relationship. She's candid about the fact that while she appreciated the volunteers and all the help, it was also difficult to lose their privacy and control of their lives and family. For someone who has control issues, this is a difficult thing.
While the family received a great deal of financial help, I came away feeling like Kate wrote this book to clear the air that they didn't ask for handouts, but are grateful for all those who chose to help them during a difficult time.
I was disappointed that the book really only touches on one area of their television life, and that was mention of the original one-hour documentary. There is no explanation of why they chose to put their family in a fish-bowl. I can assume that the money they receive from the show is helpful, but I would have liked to know more about the decision to do the show in the first place.
Each chapter begins with a scripture, and God is very much a central topic in the book. There is no mention of church attendance, their Christian faith seems central to their lives.
I think it's very easy to criticize and judge people for their actions. However, I think that unless you live with and raise 8 young children yourself, you have no basis criticizing others for the way they do it.
Overall, an easy and enthralling book.