Wednesday, June 25, 2008
This is a warning that the review you are about to read is not my typical review. Every once in a while you read a book that is so powerful and touches you in such a way that you must talk about it in that fashion.
Such is the case with What Your Mother Never Told You: A Survival Guide for Teenage Girls by Richard M. Dudum.
When I began reading this book I kept thinking, "Gee, all this advice sounds like common sense. Why would anyone want to buy it?" But I'm a month shy of 40 years old, of course it all seems like common sense to me; I've already lived through it.
As soon as I got to the section titled How to Handle Yourself, however, everything changed. Suddenly, I was no longer a wife and mother with all my wordly experiences. I was back in high school trying to fit in, struggling to figure out who I was while dealing with the loss of my mother who died of cancer my freshman year. I had no confidence, no idea what I should or shouldn't be doing, and no one to guide me into adulthood because my father and I rarely spoke.
What a difference this book would have made in my life had it only been available back then!
What Your Mother Never Told You teaches young women about the importance of self-respect, removing themselves from situations they have no business being in, and how to get out if they happen to find themselves in one of those sticky situations. It talks about sex, drugs, alcohol, boys, personal safety, Internet safety, and many other topics that young women must know about in order to survive and thrive in today's world.
Dudum should be applauded for his dead-on, practical advice that he shares in a direct manner that young people will appreciate. There's no hand holding going on here, just a straightforward approach that reaches right to the hearts and minds of young women everywhere.
Also included are five Appendices including links to specific drug details; steps to take if the reader or someone she knows has been assaulted; signs to watch for that will help the reader identify if one of her friends is participating in self-destructive behavior; how to help a friend in need; and the lyrics to a song written by the author's son that summarizes the messages Dudum is trying to impart to the reader.
What Your Mother Never Told You is a must read for every young woman and should be available in school libraries and at your high school's guidance office. I encourage parents and daughters to read it together. I'll be tucking my copy away so that I can share it with my daughters when they are old enough.
These final words come from Page 221 and 222 of What Your Mother Never Told You and sum up my exact thoughts on how I feel as a mother of two girls growing up in a world that is sometimes less than safe:
"I want you to have fun, go to parties, meet boys and girls, dance, laugh, sing, and have a great time. At the same time, I want you to always anticipate and avoid potentially harmful people, places, situations, and the type of fun that can blur your reputation. I want you to always be smart and safe...I want you to be confident, elegant, and hold yourself to the highest standard, a standard that is beyond compare. A standard that YOU can and will always be proud of...I want you to always respect yourself."
Title: What Your Mother Never Told You: A Survival Guide for Teenage Girls
Author: Richard M. Dudum
Publisher: Island Publishing
U.S. Price: $14.95