As part of the launch, Lynne appeared on The Today Show, Entertainment Tonight, The Rachael Ray Show, ShowBiz Tonight, and Inside Edition.People magazine also did an eight-page feature. This week, Lynne will be on Larry King (September 23), Fox & Friends (September 24), and the Fox News Channel (September 24).
When we announced our decision to publish a book by Lynne, scores of people emailed me about it. Honestly, I could not believe the number of angry and judgmental messages I received—all for a book that had not yet been written, let alone published! And, frankly (I am sad to admit), most of them came from Christians.
I think much of this was the result of the false reports circulating in the media that the book was going to be a parenting book. As if. Just to set the record straight, this book was always intended to be a memoir. Nothing more. Nothing less.
So why in the world would Thomas Nelson publish this book, especially in light of our content standards? Four reasons:
- It’s a fascinating story. Gail and I started reading the manuscript on vacation. I read it out loud, and after several chapters, asked Gail if she wanted to stop and have lunch. She said, “No, let’s just read one more chapter.” An hour and a half later, we were still reading.
The book has it all: ordinary people, celebrities, a small town, big cities, villains, and victims. While the story seems incredible—bigger than life—it also makes you realize that the story line is not that different from anyone else’s.
Evidently, those who have read the book agree. While this may change, currently, seven reader reviews are posted on Amazon. Six of these are five-star reviews; one is a four-star review. (And, in case, you are skeptical, no, these are from bona fide readers, not Thomas Nelson surrogates.)
- It’s a warning to parents. Children today are often shuttled from one after-school activity to another. When they show promise or talent, their schedule often becomes more intense. Sometimes, before the parents can blink, their child is on a journey that no one is prepared for. Few can handle fame and all that it brings.
Sometimes the journey ends well. (Think of Michael Phelps or Tiger Woods.) Sometimes, it ends not-so-well. Regardless, as Lynne herself says, she wishes that she would have listened more to her own intuition rather than abdicating to the so-called professionals.
- It’s a reminder that all of us make mistakes. Parenting is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard work. And in our media-saturated world, the voice of parents often becomes just one voice among many.
How many of us were trained to be parents? Mostly, we learn on-the-job. And, inevitably, we make mistakes. We just pray to God that they aren’t fatal. I have always taken comfort in James Dobson’s words, “The average child can survive the average number of mistakes made by the average parent.”
Because I have made more than my fair share of mistakes (just ask my daughters), it is tough to be too hard on other parents. Lynne is no different. She would be the first to admit she made numerous mistakes. And yet her character reflects the grace and kindness that only comes from someone who has personally experienced failure and pain.
- It is a book about faith. Lynne is a Christian. She is not afraid to admit it. She doesn’t wear her faith on her sleeve, but it permeates her life. Despite the caricature created by the tabloid media, she walks her talk. She is not perfect, but she is consistent. And humble.
When Gail and I had dinner with her, I asked, “With all that you have gone through, was there ever a time that you gave up on God?” She paused and then said, “No, I don’t think I ever gave up on God. But I gave up on myself.”
She continued, “Ten years ago, I thought I was a pretty good parent. After Jamie Lynn told me she was pregnant, I thought I must be the worst parent on the planet. So I didn’t give up on God, but I started to give up on myself. But that’s when I felt that God was saying to me, ‘I am sufficient, even when you feel you aren’t.”
So, yes, I am proud that we published this book. It is the story of someone probably not so very different from you—or me. It is a reminder that we are all part of a larger story, one that is still in the process of being written.
I am confident that you will find Lynne’s story inspiring, as I did. You owe it to yourself to suspend judgment and read it for yourself. I guarantee you this: it is very different than everything you have heard.
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