Young women who read CosmoGIRL, Teen Vogue, Seventeen and Girls' Life will feel right at home in between the pages of Nikki Goldstein's new book Girlforce: A Girl's Guide to the Body and Soul.
Basing her book upon India's ancient medical system, Ayurveda, which according to Goldstein offers a complete system of living, the author has modernized this ancient system and made it applicable to young women and the situations they are dealing with on a daily basis. Proving her knowledge of the age-group, Goldstein includes quizzes similar to those found in popular teen magazines, which allow the reader to figure out which Body Type she is, how much stress she is under, and where she is on the self-esteem meter.
The colorful front and back cover, color photographs, and appealing inside design will certainly attract teens to this book and encourage them to read more.
The basic advice found in Girlforce is all stuff we've heard before: be happy with who you are, eat right, exercise, and take care of yourself. It encourages yoga and meditation as ways to relax, which are parts of Ayruveda. What Goldstein, does however, is create Body Type specific applications for diet, exercise, stress management, fashion, and beauty techniques.
I have to admit, while I found most of the advice in this book to be helpful for young women, I did have a few challenges as I read it.
The first is that while it does tell the reader over and again how much she should appreciate who she is, most of the photos show girls who look more like professional models than average teens. In addition, Earth girls are said to be "curvaceous" and "...tend to put on weight around the hips and butt." None of the girls photographed for Girlforce look like that.
As with all general quizzes, you tend to find yourself not always able to locate the right answer for you, so you end up choosing the best answer of those available, even when none of them truly apply. This can skew the results. And for those who don't land completely in one Body Type, it can be challenging to know which Body Type specfic advice to follow because different Body Types, according to this book, should avoid certain things or use them moderately, whereas others should use them more liberally.
This reader would have liked to have seen a bit more information on how certain foods interact with specific Body Types and meditation, along with a few more examples of creative visualization.
Girlforce interested me enough that I wandered out to do a bit of additional research about Ayurveda. What I found at www.ayurveda.com is that this philosophy believes "...the entire cosmos is the interplay of the energies of the five great elements--Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth." Why the other two elements are not included in Girlforce, is not explained.
Overall, Girlforce by Nikki Goldstein will appeal to its target market. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress management are good for everyone, not just teens. By encouraging young women to get into this type of daily routine earlier in life, they will have an advantage over those who wait until they are much older to make such lifestyle changes.
Title: Girlforce: A Girls' Guide to the Body and Soul Author: Nikki Goldstein Publisher: Bloomsbury U.S.A. ISBN-10: 1-59990-354-7 ISBN-13: 978-1-59990-354-5 SRP: $14.99 (U.S.)