If you’ve been a parent for very long, you realize kids have different personalities. Some of your children may absolutely love a particular activity, while your other kids like something totally different. That’s why we are always on the lookout for resources your kids might enjoy.
Recently, I was offered a chance to review the book The Girls’ Guide to Conquering Life by Erica and Jonathan Catherman. The book claims to coach girls on everything from “how to ace an interview, change a tire, talk to a guy and 97 other skills you need to thrive.” For girls who love earning Girl Scout badges and patches, this sounds like a book they would love.
The book does live up to its billing in a way. There are instructions for a lot of different life skills within it’s pages. They are written similar to a recipe, with “what you will need”, “time required”, a list of steps and then a “did you know” tidbit at the end. The steps are mostly good advice, although some are a bit broad to be helpful to someone who really has no idea what to do in that particular area. For example, in the job interview entry, it tells girls to “research the company”. While it does give some ideas for the types of information that might be helpful, it doesn’t tell them where to look for that information.
At times, the book is a bit unrealistic. For example to research a company and practice for a job interview, it’s supposed to take 10-30 minutes. For first time job hunters who may be introverted and never even thought about answers to common interview questions, it’s going to take a lot more than ten minutes to “ace an interview”.
The other problem I have is the dated look of the book. It’s not beautiful, artistic retro. It looks more like a cheap version of someone’s idea of retro. And why? Most young women today want sleek, modern styles. If this is an attempt to appeal to someone’s idea of conservative Christianity (it is published by a Christian publishing house), then it needs to actually address God, the Bible or Christianity in some way. It might have been there, but it was so subtle it missed my notice.
The other issue I had was some of the attempts at empowerment felt forced. The entries on various aspects of liking boys and dating read like they felt obligated to assume the girl took the lead in the relationship. I would have preferred a more accurate entry reflecting that boys and girls can assume multiple roles in a healthy romantic relationship. Instead it felt more like the girl should do everything, because…why, I wanted to know.
Honestly, it’s not that the book is bad. Some girls may enjoy it or learn something from it. (Although be warned, the illustrations are not very helpful. The drawing for a good golf grip was a dark cartoonish drawing that was hard to interpret.) It’s just that I think because of the way it looks and reads, I believe most girls will never actually read it. What makes me even more disappointed, was that this book could have been a great way to show young women how faith should be woven through their lives, how God should touch every aspect of what they do. Yet the authors totally missed the chance.
This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.