In a tell-all memoir, Jill Duggar Dillard, once a central figure in the famed Duggar family of reality TV, pulls back the curtain on the strict religious upbringing that shaped her life. From the challenges of growing up under the watchful eyes of a reality show camera crew to family scandals that made headlines, Jill’s “Counting the Cost” lays it all bare.
While many Duggar family members have faced scrutiny over their strict religious beliefs and practices, Jill has distinguished herself as the most vocally critical. Earlier this year, she appeared in an Amazon Prime docuseries, “Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets,” further cementing her status as the family’s most outspoken critic.
In “Counting the Cost,” co-authored with Craig Borlase and her husband, Derick Dillard, Jill revisits numerous pivotal moments from her youth. The book delves deep, recounting instances of her father’s disdain for rock ‘n’ roll, the family’s strict religious affiliations, and her on-camera courtship with Derick.
One of the most sensitive sections details the aftermath of the molestation scandal involving her brother, Josh Duggar, which led to the cancellation of “19 Kids and Counting.” Jill explicitly places the responsibility of the acts on her brother, challenging previous criticisms that seemed to place blame on media and police.
Jill’s memoir also shines a light on her struggles with her father over compensation from their reality TV stints, emphasizing a strenuous father-daughter relationship. With Jim Bob Duggar seemingly casting Jill as the black sheep of the family, several behind-the-scenes confrontations are unveiled.
The book, however, is not entirely an exposé. Jill clarifies that it wasn’t meant to shame her family but rather to share her side of the story. The overarching goal is reconciliation and healthy relationships, she stresses.
In recent years, Jill and Derick have moved to Oklahoma, with Derick taking up a position as an assistant district attorney. Veering from her own upbringing, their children now attend public schools, marking another departure from the strict homeschooling of the Duggar clan.
While the relationship with her family remains complicated, there are glimmers of hope. A touching photo in the book captures a tender moment with her parents and her youngest child, Frederick. It’s a poignant reminder that amidst the chaos of fame and family drama, love persists.