A Girl’s Guide to Life
By: Katie Meier
Growing up, I remember reading books that were written for teenagers. Dating books and such. And I remember wondering whether the concepts they were telling me about were really how they were in real life. Because they would all say it was real, but so do the movies. And even if it was real for the author, does that mean the concept is universal and it’s real for me too? Therefore, I wasn’t a very good judge of whether these books targeted to teenage girls were actually good or not. I might have thought they were good, but without the personal life experience, how would I really know?
So when I saw this book, I figured it would be a good opportunity to find out if it’s really real. Now that I’m out of those teenage years and on to the next phase in my life, I am at a better place to judge whether these kinds of books are good or not.
Having said that, there were things about this book that were very good. She addresses uncomfortable issues, and not just the cliche ones that you always read about. She splits the book into three categories: mind, body, and soul. Some topics in the “mind” portion include self-esteem, prejudices, and “the digital you.” This last one was a good topic that needs to be addressed with young ladies today. Meier talks about online etiquette and just plain common sense. Saying be careful how you portray yourself online. Facebook, text messages, etc. Some topics in the “body” section include beauty, sex/sexuality, guys. Some topics in the “soul” category include religion, service, and family.
Meier is very straightforward. She tells her audience that a lot of the things that you might think are a big deal now, really aren’t that major in the big picture. It’s so hard to remember that as a teenage girl. The guy you like wants you to do something you aren’t comfortable with, so dump him because he doesn’t deserve you anyways. Easier said than done, right? She is also brutally honest about beauty and how it is viewed by society. She says that people can tell you that looks don’t matter, but they do. And she’s right. It’s not a good thing, but she’s right.
One of the things I didn’t like about this book is that I couldn’t decide whether this was supposed to be from a Christian perspective or not. At times, she addresses her audience as though she assumes they are Christians. But then she would say things that made me wonder. For example, at one point she was talking about girls who view relationships with their heart vs. their head. She had some good points that I liked, especially telling girls that being overly dramatically romantic is completely unrealistic. You know the love-struck ones that are obsessed with a certain guy and write their names w/the guy’s last name even though the guy doesn’t know they exist…. She contrasted that with the girls who are overly rational about relationships. She said that girls like that can sometimes end up in relationships where they end up “playing house” and living with their boyfriend eventually. But she didn’t say anything about how that’s not how relationships should work. She didn’t clarify (because maybe she doesn’t believe) that sex before marriage is unacceptable to God. And there were a few other instances like that, where she didn’t exactly condone certain behavior, but mentioned it in passing without making in clear that is shouldn’t be done.
She also presented several different religions other than Christianity as possibilities, saying that her audience shouldn’t take her word for anything without checking out all of the options first. But then she still went on to assume Christianity. If a book is going to take a completely neutral standpoint as far as religion goes, that’s fine. But don’t write from a Christian perspective and talk about how God wants us to act and then present Wicca, Islam, Buddhism and others as options. It just wasn’t consistent in that aspect. And I think that it’s a pretty important aspect.
Overall, the book had some good points that were very straightforward. Girls today need that. None of this wishy-washy stuff. That will just confuse them more. And while some of her points were good, some were a bit wishy-washy, especially from the religious viewpoint. And in my opinion, that’s the one thing you need to get straight above and beyond anything else.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”