Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Guy's Guide to Life: How to Become a Man in 224 Pages or Less

If you are looking for a last-minute gift for that hard-to-buy-for teen boy on your list, Jason Boyett's A Guy's Guide to Life: How to Become a Man in 224 Pages, may be a fun choice. Boyett uses humor, faith, research and frank language to sensitively handle a wide spectrum of issues teen boys are interested in. Boyett speaks directly to guys on issues ranging from how to knot a tie, to how sex works, to developing meaningful friendships.

This book is organized into three sections. Section one explains the working of a guy's mind, and covers topics such as stereotypes and peer pressure, communication (with parents and girls), dating, and being a gentleman. He advocates listening to and respecting parents, staying away from "danger zones" on dates (empty houses, movie theaters, etc. . .) and holding doors open for anyone, regardless of age or gender.

Part two is labeled "Body," and gives detailed instructions about grooming and clothing, exercise and healthy choices. This section also contains a "Sex Chapter" where Boyett explains how sex works and discusses how Christian teenage boys should view sexuality and dating.

Boyett discusses masturbation, pornography and oral sex in this chapter. While he has no problem with hand-holding and kissing, Boyett defines any other sexual behavior as "sex," which should be reserved for marriage. He explains pornography is never positive, and can become an addiction. About masturbation, Boyett says, "God created your sex drive, but it is doubtful he intended masturbation to be a good use of it." However, he also says most teens will struggle with it, and he warns against carrying "the kind of guilt that, if it continues to fester, can drive a person away from God." Step to Manhood #52 is, "Deciding to hold off on having sex until you're married and sticking to that commitment no matter how tempting things get." He also discusses what to do if you have already gone too far.

The last chapter in this section is a refreshing and empathetic look at the emotional and physical changes teen girls are going through.

"Part Three: Soul" discusses faith, family, friends, your neighbor and the future. Boyett explains what it means to follow Jesus and live in His grace. He also recommends boys volunteer, contribute to church, and consider service or mission projects. He makes a compelling case for attending college, whether in an Ivy League setting or community college. Especially helpful are Boyett's ideas about how to pay for college, and think about your future.

What I Like: Guys will appreciate Boyett's clear explanations and conversational tone. He treats readers as intelligent, mature teens, capable of using straight-forward information to make wise choices.

Boyett is unequivocal about his faith, but he relates to teens, and never preaches, but instead, comes alongside the boys he is writing to.

I also like Boyett's humor. While we don't usually use the terms "boobs" and "butt," reading them in his book, along with his funny commentary, could lighten up awkward topics. I can imagine appreciating a good laugh here and there, if I was reading this with my son (in several years!)

What I Dislike: Nothing

Overall Rating: Excellent

Age Appeal: 13 and up (and parents)

Publisher Info: Thomas Nelson, 2010; ISBN: 978-1-4003-1595-6; Paperback, 209 pages, $12.99

Buy it Now at for $8.49

OR Buy it at for $11.69.

Special Note: Boyett explains a very strict version of "courtship" but is more in favor of dating, with hand-holding and light kissing (as opposed to "deep, open-mouthed" kissing) allowed.

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