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Girl StuffReview - Girl Stuff
A Survival Guide to Growing Up
by Margaret Blackstone and Elissa Haden Guest
Gulliver Books, 2000
Review by Amanda Moreno
Jun 30th 2000 (Volume 4, Issue 26)

Girl Stuff is a detailed description of what an adolescent girl may experience during puberty. The book addresses physical changes, as well as emotional changes. It also includes the issues of peer pressure and sexuality.

The book begins by covering the anatomy of both girls and boys. The cartoon drawings and easy-to-understand explanations of the body parts make it uncomplicated for a parent and child to comfortably discuss the differences between boys and girls.

There are several physical changes that occur during puberty that are discussed. Some of the topics included are body odor, body weight, menstruation and acne. Following the general overviews of the topics are ideas on how to deal with the problems.

The numerous ideas are helpful in displaying the many options a young girl has when dealing with one of the problems. The emotional changes a young girl experiences are as difficult and uncomfortable to deal with as the physical changes. The book examines the friendships a young girl may have and the importance of them. The book also reviews healthy ways for a young girl to express her ever-changing emotions. Also included is the relatively new idea of alternative medicine. While the book was simply trying to cover all options, the alternative medicine section is somewhat unsafe and should be read with parents since most of the medicine can be bought over the counter.

The final topic of the book is sexuality. The sexuality section is extremely comprehensive and should first be read by the parent. The parent may be surprised to find information included that they may not even know. It should also be reviewed for content since not all parents want their children exposed some of the material. Topics included are foreplay, pregnancy, finding the right one, homosexual feelings and the pros and cons of sexuality. Such words as masturbation, anal and oral sex, orgasm, and incest are used which may be words that parents with younger girls want to avoid until the child is older and more able to comprehend.

Overall the book is a complete guide of the many possibilities that may occur during puberty. It is a book that offers explanations for difficult and sensitive subjects and options as to how to deal with them. The parent or guardian should first read the book to ensure that the material included is appropriate reading for the girl who will read it. The parent should make sure the child understands that dealing with puberty is a confusing process and one they should not have to experience alone. The suggested age range for readers is nine to twelve, which seems on the young side. The material is so explicit that ten to fourteen seems a more logical age. However, it is really up to the parents as to when the child needs the book considering girls bloom at all ages.

 

Amanda Moreno recently graduated from high school. She will attend Loyola University in New Orleans, LA beginning in the Fall, 2000 semester.

 


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