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Live Original: How the Duck Commander Teen Keeps It Real and Stays True to Her Values

Publisher: Howard Books • 2014 • 224 pages

From the opening pages of Live Original, it becomes clear that Sadie Robertson is speaking directly to her teenage peers. In chapter after chapter, the young star of Duck Dynasty shares common challenges that affect nearly every teenager navigating the treacherous waters of adolescence. In an upbeat and infectiously optimistic style, Sadie offers sound advice and clear direction to young people struggling with popularity issues, peer pressure, and the desire to remain true to one’s values.

Thousands of books have been written over the years positing the latest trends and advice on surviving adolescence. However, in the early pages of Live Original, the author makes it clear that only one book can provide the moral guidance necessary for a purposeful life: The Bible.

With clear language and unequivocal conviction, Sadie professes her Christian faith and her relationship with God. She goes on to use several examples in her book to illustrate difficult decisions in her life that were influenced and informed by the teachings in the Bible. With a carefully selected Bible quote at the start of each chapter, the narrative that follows is strongly influenced by the author’s Christian beliefs and firm commitment to living a life worthy of her faith. In an effort to keep her narrative on point, Sadie uses well-placed Bible passages throughout each chapter to reinforce her faith-based message and to provide inspiration to her readers.

With dedicated chapters on the importance of choosing the right friends, respecting relationships, and persevering through difficult challenges, the author invites the reader into the life of a teenage television star. What is discovered, however, is that Sadie faces several of the same difficult choices that many modern teens encounter on their journey through adolescence.

Consistently throughout the book, Sadie uses personal stories and experiences to illustrate her faith-based decision-making process, while at the same time acknowledging the realities that teens face on a daily basis. With an honest and humble approach, she describes her own missteps on her journey through life, emphasizing the important lessons she learned along the way. Sadie makes it clear, however, that despite making mistakes in our lives, choices guided by Bible teachings will keep you true to your faith, no matter how unpopular these decisions may be among family, friends, and peers.

Although clearly directed at young adults, many of the chapters in Live Original contain wisdom well beyond the years of its teenage author. The advice Sadie offers when confronted with a difficult decision can transfer seamlessly to nearly any challenge an adult may face later in life.

Within the chapter discussing perseverance in the face of adversity, Sadie’s motivating words and stories, along with perfectly matched Bible verses, inspire confidence in anyone struggling with hardship and misfortune, regardless of age. 

As the book concludes, the sections encouraging appreciation for one’s God-given uniqueness and purpose in life make it easy to forget that the author has lived a mere eighteen years. Nonetheless, readers of all ages will appreciate her positive and spirited approach to life, finding shared inspiration in her uplifting narrative and steadfast reverence for the Word of God.

It is well known that modern teenagers face significant social challenges and temptations, including exposure to strands of culture not always conducive to a virtuous life.  In Live Original, author Sadie Robertson faces these challenges head on with the confidence and conviction of her Christian values.

In an age when the news is saturated with stories of young people making unhealthy and destructive decisions, Sadie keeps true to her faith and remains grounded by her unshakable devotion to living a life of purpose in God’s grace. As adults, we sometimes get quite cynical of younger generations and their perceived lack of character, work ethic, and direction in life.

However, the teenage star of a popular television show, by living a life guided by age-old Biblical wisdom, provides inspiration and hope to young and old alike.
Original CBC review by Bob Macioci

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