Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Girl's Guide to Life: The Truth on Growing Up, Being True, and Making Your Teen Years Fabulous!

If you have a tween or teen girl wrestling with life issues and questions, Katie Meier’s book A Girl’s Guide to Life: The Truth on Growing Up, Being True, and Making Your Teen Years Fabulous! provides some guidance and answers.

The book opens and closes with a message from the author. Meier explains that the book is not set up in a linear fashion but that chapters can be read in any order. Because it’s written from a Christian perspective, Meier also provides some Scripture references in the text. The rest of the book is divided into three sections, where Meier tackles topics involving the mind, body, and soul of a young girl.

Under “mind”, Meier addressed self-esteem, romance, prejudice and perception, pressure and the real you, going online and the digital you, and disorders and who can help. In this section, I thought Meier’s online/digital advice and frank talk about disorders was spot on. She acknowledged both the advantages and dangers of electronic communication, and gave good advice on how to protect yourself from those dangers. For disorders, she not only laid out warning signs, she provided information about where a teen can go to find help.

Under “body”, Meier discussed beauty, fashion, puberty, sex and sexuality, guys, and personal rights (which had to do with sexual harassment, abuse, and self-defense). I thought the two best chapters in this section were on beauty and sexuality. I appreciated Meier stating that in today’s society, how we look on the outside really does count… because, let’s face it, it does. She suggests teens dress in a way that makes them feel confident without going overboard on makeup. The chapter on sex and sexuality briefly brings up masturbation and sexual temptation. Meier makes it clear that sex is for after marriage. Most of this chapter follows a question and answer format.

Under “mind”, Meier looked at family, friends, religion, volunteer work, and choosing who you will be. Meier paints a picture of what a family should be—loving, supporting, protecting—and then gives some straight talk about what to do when families don’t get along or are abusive. In the religion section, she points out the main differences between Christianity and a variety of other religions and gives succinct summaries about each religion she mentions. (They are Buddhism, Wicca, Islam, Hinduism, and Judaism.)

What I Like: I appreciate the inclusion of website and numbers teens can call to find help for eating disorders… which, as the author notes, is a major problem for teen girls. I was impressed with the scope of the issues she addressed, and how she fit them into one of the three subheading of mind, body, or soul. Meier gave a lot of great advice and information without sounding preachy, which means this book might also work for a general market audience. She appealed to logic as well as emotion in making her presentations. I wish a book like this had been available for me when I was a teen!

What I Dislike: In the self-esteem chapter, Meier repeatedly referred to the “Land of No”, a phrase she got from a book by Caroline Knapp called Appetites. Since I haven’t read that book, I found this reference a little confusing. In the romance chapter, I didn’t think the checklist for determining what kind of emotional girl you are was very accurate or realistic. It’s hard to fit girls into one of two categories when it comes to romance. I thought a few of the chapters were a bit too shallow (fashion, prejudice), but they did, at least, provide a nice overview. Also, while the book gave some Scriptural references, I felt like it didn’t provide enough. I would have liked a list of Scripture to look up or a workbook-like section for girls to find out more about where God stands on some of the issues Meier addressed. Perhaps that would have helped flesh out some of the chapters that I felt addressed the topics too superficially. Finally, I felt like in Meier’s attempt to “talk teen”, some of her wording seemed awkward. Some of the slang in the book is already obsolete.

Overall Rating: Very Good... Plus Amazon has an excellent low price on this book, making it a real bargain!

Age Appeal: Ages 13 and up

Publisher Info: Thomas Nelson, 2010; ISBN:1400315948; Paperback, 224 PGS., $12.99
Buy it Now at for $8.99.
OR Buy it at for $4.65.

Special Info: Publisher Thomas Nelson also offers A Guy's Guide to Life: How to Become a Man, written by Jason Boyett. Read a CCBR review of this book.

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1 comment:

Donna Perugini said...

I'm working with this girls age group at our church mentioned in this book.

Where you were confused with the land of no, I was also confused since I had not read the book she quoted from.

The books is very helpful as a reference book for me. I'd also purchased the book thinking we could pass it around in our group for the more curious. Yes, I also wished there was a book like this for me as a teen. All I had was rumors and teen magazines!

I believe the book is worth purchasing if you are involved in any way with girls this age. For me it could have used more biblical references. It's okay to have this information presented in the book, but it's also very important to bring the girls back to what's in the Bible that will give them stability and answers. The book gave a sprinkling of scriptures which were helpful.

Appreciate the thorough review. It made me go back and look through the book again.