Untethered by Laura Whitfield
Faith, Failure, and Finding Solid Ground
When Laura Whitfield was fourteen, her extraordinary brother, Lawrence, was killed in a mountain climbing accident. That night she had an epiphany: Life is short. Dream big, even if it means taking risks. So, after graduating from high school, she set out on her own, prepared to do just that.
Laura spent her first summer after high school on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a magical few months filled with friendships, boys, and beer. There she met a handsome DJ, who everyone called “Steve the Dream” and risked her heart. When September came, Steve moved to New York City to become a model, prompting Laura to start thinking about modelling, too.
After just one semester of college, still seeking to fill the void left by her brother’s death, she dropped out and moved to New York to become a cover girl. But while juggling the demands of life in the big city—waiting tables, failed relationships, and the cutthroat world of modelling—she lost her way.
Untethered is a stirring memoir about a young woman’s quest to find hope and stability after a devastating loss. It's Laura’s story of overcoming shame, embracing faith, and learning that taking risks—and failing—can lead to a bigger life than you’ve ever dared to imagine.
I'm of the belief that the choosing of a memoir is a deeply personal one, and when I came across Laura Whitfield's book, I knew I had to read it. I made this selection out of many fantastic books from She Writes Press and BookSparks, knowing it would be the one to resonate with me the most.
Having worked in the fashion industry for so long, I was drawn to Laura's work as a model, and felt I could relate to her cutthroat experience. I also find myself drawn to memoirs of overcoming and becoming — these powerful and impactful stories of transformation.
I recently wrote an article for Daily Hive in honour of International Women's Day — 14 transformative and inspirational memoirs written by women. I've read all the books in my article, many of them through periods of darkness. Each one has filled me with hope, courage, and inspiration. They have served as reminders that we must carry-on, even throughout the darkest of times.
While I haven't yet read Untethered in its entirety, I have read several excerpts. What I can say is the parts I've read were well-written, deeply layered, and engaging. I don't consider myself attached to any religious groups or organizations, and while Laura does often write about her faith, that doesn't mean it's not for you. It doesn't feel as though Whitfield is preaching at all — she's just sharing her genuine experience and personal story.
|Photo courtesy of @laurawhitfieldwriter|
Untethered has received advanced praise from leading literary publication Kirkus, who stated in their review that it was a "candid and inspirational coming-of-age story." Laura's debut has also received acclaim from many authors and writers.
Whitfield recently shared on her Instagram, "I will be 65 when my debut book is published in April. It’s never too late to pursue a dream." An incredibly inspiring message I think we all need to hear before we give up on our wildest dreams.
I'm delighted to share that the author has several upcoming events, including various Instagram lives, book signings, and interviews.
If you decide to choose Untethered for an upcoming book club, Laura has you covered with a free discussion guide available for download from her website. Please note that it does contain spoilers.
While I leave you to ponder my Monday morning book feature, I'm going to be diving deeper into the pages of Untethered.
My thanks to the author and publisher for the advanced copy.
|Photo courtesy of Laura's website|
Laura Whitfield grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina, the daughter of a journalist and a teacher. She has been an advertising copywriter, newspaper columnist, staff writer for an international relief agency, travel writer, blogger, teacher, communications director for several nonprofits, and personal assistant to a New York Times bestselling author.
Laura is passionate about her faith, books, travel, nature (especially the beach), social justice, and her family. She lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with her husband, Stephen.