Tuesday, March 8, 2016

"i said yes" by emily maynard johnson

As an avid fan of The Bachelor and all of its spin-offs, I'm well acquainted with Emily Maynard. I remember loving her on Brad Womack's second season (yes, the man did get to be the Bachelor twice, though neither turn led to lasting love), and I enjoyed her season of The Bachelorette (though I cared more about the guys than I did about her quest for love). Now Emily has written a book about her life on and off TV, and I jumped at the chance to read it.

When her high-profile search for romance led Emily Maynard to dead end after dead end, real love finally found her.

Millions know Emily Maynard Johnson from her unprecedented double appearances on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Millions also know that neither of the relationships from those shows lasted much longer than a commercial break.

Overcome with embarrassment following her nationally televised failures at romance, Emily finally committed her heart to the only one she knew would never leave her empty and alone. Abandoning her desire to be chosen by men and finding peace in the fact that she was already chosen by God, Emily found the joy she had been looking for in serving God.

In I Said Yes, Emily tells the story of her life before and after reality TV fame, describing the profound new reality she discovered when she forsook fame in favor of the Lord. At the end of a long, fruitless search for a man, this courageous young woman found the truest love of all waiting right in front of her. To that love, Emily said yes.

While the description of I Said Yes makes this book sound like it will be about Emily's spiritual journey, it really isn't ... for the most part. The first third of the book talks about Emily's childhood and her romance with Ricky Hendrick, who died in a plane crash when Emily was pregnant with their daughter. Much of the rest of the book outlines her time on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, while the final pages discuss her growing relationship with Christ and her romance with her now-husband, Tyler.

By far, my favorite section of the book was when Emily talked about her time on the shows. (Would I have liked more details? Yes.) The tidbit that I found most interesting was that she was annoyed by Kalon from the very first night (she says his helicopter entrance was "a tacky, off-putting gimmick that came across as pretentious"), yet she kept him around because "can you imagine how boring the show would be if I only kept the nice guys around the whole time?" I wanted her to go one step further and confirm what I've long suspected, that the producers "encourage" the lead to keep certain people around, but she didn't.

As far as details about the show and the resulting relationships go, Emily probably spent the most time talking about her relationship with Brad. She pretty clearly explained what went wrong in their relationship, which is something I had been curious about. Her Bachelorette relationships, though, were kind of glossed over, and I found that disappointing.

After I finished reading I Said Yes, I got to thinking: why do we read autobiographies? This marks the third one I've read in a year (after Sean Lowe's For the Right Reasons and Candace Cameron Bure's Dancing Through Life), and in all three cases, I chose to read the book because the author is a "celebrity" whose life and experiences interest me. When I read an autobiography, I'm looking for insight into someone's life. While I got that with both Sean and Candace, Emily's story felt more surface-level to me. Sure, it was entertaining, but I didn't feel that I finished the book with a deeper understanding of Emily. I think the biggest reason for this is the writing style, which is fairly simplistic. I felt like I was getting a basic sketch of the events as Emily experienced them, rather than an insider look at her thoughts and feelings. She tends to talk in vague terms about her various relationships, including her relationship with Christ. This book feels like it just scratches the surface of who Emily is, making for an enjoyable, yet ultimately unmemorable, read.

Bottom line: If you're looking for a Bachelor/ette tell-all (which, let's be honest, I was), you won't find it here. 3 stars.

Note: I just read in an article in the Charlotte Observer that Emily didn't intend for I Said Yes to be a tell-all, so perhaps I'm unfairly judging it; still, it's not what I was expecting.

Buy the book.

Emily Maynard Johnson is best known for her appearances on ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. She lives with her daughter, Ricki, and her husband, Tyler, in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she writes a popular fashion blog for InStyle.com, manages her website and blog, and designs and markets a successful jewelry line.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. I have also wondered about Emily's book so i was interested to read your review. I just finished reading Rifqa Bary's book, Hiding in the Light, and it was an excellent biography. It held my attention right from the start and I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened to Rifqa in the fight against her family because they did not want her to live her Christian faith.

    1. I'd not heard of her before, but after looking her up, I think I might need to add her book to my tbr pile! Thanks for the recommendation!


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