Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Beauty Book

The Beauty Book, by Nancy Rue, is the nonfiction companion to the author's novel Here's Lily! Both are part of the Young Women of Faith series.

This book reiterates the emphasis of the novel: that God created all of us beautiful and our beauty shines brightest when we have confidence in Him. With a contemporary, conversational style, this book tackles hot-button issues of low self-esteem, beauty and personal hygiene. A God-focus permeates the text. The author answers questions like: Why is this important? Why does God care? What does God have to say about this particular issue?

The first chapter encourages girls to stop putting themselves down, stop comparing themselves to others and stop idolizing models and celebrities. Rather, girls should adopt God's perspective of themselves: as something beautiful He created. The subsequent chapters possess a common format and are logically divided by topic.
  • Hair: Washing, brushing, styles to compliment face shapes and activity levels, dealing with chlorine, gum, dandruff, etc.
  • Skin: washing, moisturizing, protecting (sun lotion), dealing with blemishes and make-up
  • Shaving: when to start, how to do it properly, what to do if your parents say "no" or "not yet"
  • Hands and Feet: how to do at-home manicures and pedicures properly
  • Clothes: finding a personal style and promoting modesty
  • Extremes: piercings, tattoos, radical hair choices and remembering that our bodies are the temples of God
  • "Problem" Areas: dealing with "big uglies" like braces, glasses or unwanted birthmarks

The text includes fun quizzes, question and answer sections (featuring characters from the novel), tips for care and reasons why, as well as Biblical references and details on how this is a "God-thing." An area for prayer and journaling concludes each chapter.

Steven Mach provided the interior illustrations which add much to the overall appeal of the book. Girlie doodles and monochromatic drawings of the characters sprinkle and compliment the text.

What I Like: I really like the concept. Girls love talking beauty, but I don't know how many receive this information from parents or other Christian-based sources. This book does a great job answering questions with grace and honesty. The author places great emphasis on honoring parents. No makeup, shaving or piercings (or whatever else may be in fashion) without getting permission from Mom and Dad first. Also, no whining, nagging or going behind Mom and Dad's back. I love the constant God-focus of the book and the frequent Scripture quotations.

What I Dislike: A few of the Scripture passages are taken out of context. This occurs rarely in the 104-page book, but I believe the point could have been made without manipulating God's Word for emphasis. Also, the book is dated. This should be expected with something as dynamic as fashion and beauty. The problem isn't limited to clothing and hair styles; it also extends to the language. Phrases like "yeah, baby" and "spastic" are used much more in this book than is common today.

Overall Rating: Very good. (An updated version would be even better!)

Age Appeal: 8-12

Publisher Info: Zondervan, 2000; ISBN: 0310700140; Paperback; $7.99

Buy it Now at for $5.99!

OR Buy it at for $7.99.

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