Published by Worthy Publishing on March 31, 2015
Genres: Nonfiction, Religion, Christian
When Lydia McLaughlin made the controversial choice to walk away from her popular role on The Real Housewives of Orange County, she had two good reasons: faith and family
In Beyond Orange County, Lydia writes about the strength and grace it takes for each of us to choose a life of purpose. She also shares behind-the-scenes insights from Hollywood, lessons she has learned both on and off the screen, and what her life looks like now that she’s following God on His next adventure for her. Most importantly, she inspires us to examine our own lives and live out boldly the unique calling God has for each of us.
As someone who was once fully addicted to all things Bravo, I knew I had to request Beyond Orange County as soon as I saw it on NetGalley. I really enjoyed Lydia’s “character” on The Real Housewives of Orange County. Her personality is refreshing and uplifting, and even though I’m not a Christian, I was interested to read her book. Now, before I jump into my review I want to mention that this is not a memoir, and it’s not a book for someone simply looking for juice on the Housewives. Beyond Orange County, as the title suggests, is a guide to Christian faith aimed at married women. Thus, I recommend it for those wanting to learn more about Christianity, especially women in Bible study.
Beyond Orange County is a good book if you are looking to become a Christian, or if you are hoping to strengthen your faith. As someone who is not Christian, I still enjoyed learning about Lydia’s spiritual journey, and I liked how she included personal stories along the way to illustrate how God fits into her life. Beyond Orange County includes several Bible passages throughout the book, and I found these to be well researched as they fit well into each chapter’s theme. I also thought it was great that each chapter concludes with a discussion guide featuring questions that can be used for self reflection or group discussion. It’s a practical book to keep on hand if you need some guidance with your Christian faith.
My main issue with Beyond Orange County, however, was the treatment of women in relation to their husbands. In Chapter 8 entitled “Love, Love, Love,” Lydia discusses the love she has with her husband. I was quite disturbed when she recounts the time directly following the birth of her first baby with her husband, Doug. Lydia mentions she did not feel ready to be intimate with her husband again, but her doctor encouraged her to do so because, “You are first and foremost his bride, and then you’re a mother.” Not only was I shocked that a doctor would tell a patient how to act in her martial relationship, but the fact that Lydia was seen as property to her husband and is there to please him is unacceptable to me. This theme of women being beneath men circulated a few times throughout Beyond Orange County, and was very disappointing to read.
Moreover, the writing style in Beyond Orange County was a bit weak. I never expect much from celebrity books, but there were several grammatical errors, and some of the sentence structures were quite awkward. I did receive this book from NetGalley, so I’m hopeful some of these issues were edited out in the final edition. I did take the grammatical errors into consideration when rating the book, but they did not weigh too heavily on my three star rating due to this being an eARC.
Overall, I’m glad I had the opportunity to review Beyond Orange County. At just over 200 pages, this is a quick read and I think any reader can get something out of it whether or not she is a Christian. However, I do recommend this for the suggested audience, as it truly is a guidebook for Christian housewives. With Mother’s Day coming up soon, this might be the perfect gift!