|Basic InformationMore InformationLatest NewsQuestions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews|100 Things Guys Need to Know3 NBS of Julian DrewA Guide to Asperger SyndromeA Tribe ApartA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDA Walk in the Rain With a BrainAdolescent DepressionAfterAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAll Alone in the UniverseAmelia RulesAmericaAnother PlanetAntisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsArtemis FowlAssessment and Treatment of Childhood Problems, Second EditionAutistic Spectrum DisordersBad GirlBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBeyond Diversity DayBig Mouth & Ugly GirlBill HensonBipolar DisordersBody Image, Eating Disorders, and ObesityBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBoyBoysBrandedBreaking PointBreathing UnderwaterBringing Up ParentsBullying and TeasingCan't Eat, Won't EatCatalystChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChildren Changed by TraumaChildren with Emerald EyesChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness City of OneConcise Guide to Child and Adolescent PsychiatryConquering the Beast WithinContentious IssuesCrackedCutDancing in My NuddypantsDemystifying the Autistic ExperienceDescartes' BabyDilemmas of DesireDirtyDoing ItDoing SchoolDying to Be ThinEating an ArtichokeEducating Children With AutismElijah's CupEllison the ElephantEmerald City BluesEmotional and Behavioral Problems of Young ChildrenEvery Girl Tells a StoryFast GirlsFeather BoyFiregirlForever YoungFreaks, Geeks and Asperger SyndromeFreewillGeography ClubGeorgia Under WaterGirl in the MirrorGirlfightingGirlsourceGirlWiseGLBTQGood GirlsGoodbye RuneGranny Torrelli Makes SoupGrowing Up GirlHandbook for BoysHealing ADDHeartbeatHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHollow KidsHow Children Learn the Meanings of WordsHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tHug MeIntrusive ParentingIt's Me!It's Perfectly NormalJake RileyJoey Pigza Swallowed the KeyJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKeeping the MoonKilling MonstersKim: Empty InsideKnocked Out by My Nunga-NungasLaura Numeroff's 10-Step Guide to Living with Your MonsterLearning About School ViolenceLeo the Lightning BugLet Kids Be KidsLiberation's ChildrenLife As We Know ItLisa, Bright and DarkLittle ChicagoLord of the FliesLoserLove and SexLove That DogManicMastering Anger and AggressionMind FieldsMiss American PieMom, Dad, I'm Gay.MonsterMore Than a LabelMyths of ChildhoodNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNo Two AlikeNot Much Just Chillin'Odd Girl OutOdd Girl Speaks OutOn the Frontier of AdulthoodOne Hot SecondOne in ThirteenOphelia SpeaksOphelia's MomOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the DustOvercoming School AnxietyParenting and the Child's WorldParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerPediatric PsychopharmacologyPeriod PiecesPhobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and AdolescentsPINSPraising Boys WellPraising Girls WellPretty in PunkPrincess in the SpotlightProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Psychotherapy As PraxisPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsRaising a Self-StarterRaising BlazeRaising Resilient ChildrenReclaiming Our ChildrenRedressing the EmperorReducing Adolescent RiskRethinking ADHDReweaving the Autistic TapestryRineke DijkstraRitalin is Not the Answer Action GuideRunning on RitalinSay YesSexual Teens, Sexual MediaSexuality in AdolescenceShooterShort PeopleShould I Medicate My Child?Skin GameSmackSmashedStaying Connected to Your TeenagerStick FigureStoner & SpazStop Arguing with Your KidsStraight Talk about Your Child's Mental HealthStrong, Smart, & BoldStudent DepressionSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving OpheliaTaking Charge of ADHD, Revised EditionTaming the Troublesome ChildTargeting AutismTeaching Problems and the Problems of TeachingTeen Angst? NaaahThat SummerThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Arctic IncidentThe Bipolar ChildThe Buffalo TreeThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Carnivorous CarnivalThe Depressed ChildThe Developing MindThe Dragons of AutismThe Dream BearerThe Dulcimer Boy The Einstein SyndromeThe EpidemicThe Eternity CubeThe Explosive ChildThe Field of the DogsThe First IdeaThe Identity TrapThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Little TernThe Mean Girl MotiveThe Men They Will BecomeThe Myth of LazinessThe New Gay TeenagerThe Notebook GirlsThe Nurture AssumptionThe Opposite of InvisibleThe Order of the Poison OakThe Other ParentThe Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Rise and Fall of the American TeenagerThe Secret Lives of GirlsThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Shared HeartThe Spider and the BeeThe StepsThe Thought that CountsThe Unhappy ChildThe Vile VillageThe Whole ChildThen Again, Maybe I Won'tTherapy with ChildrenThings I Have to Tell YouTouching Spirit BearTrauma in the Lives of ChildrenTreacherous LoveTrue BelieverTwistedUnhappy TeenagersWay to Be!We're Not MonstersWhat about the KidsWhat Would Joey Do?What's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhen Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Sex Goes to SchoolWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWhere The Kissing Never StopsWhose America?Why Are You So Sad?WinnicottWorried All the TimeYes, Your Teen Is Crazy!You Hear MeYoung People and Mental HealthYour Child, Bully or Victim?
by Carolyn Jones
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2002
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Feb 27th 2002
This is a nicely produced book with
color and black and white photographs and short self-descriptions of
eighty-five girls talking about what they have accomplished or endured in their
lives. It aims to be an uplifting
enterprise and it is crammed full of earnest good intentions. The girls range in age from 11 to 18; they
are of various ethnicities and colors, and they chose to wear all sorts of
different clothes. Lauren, 17, is in a
tutu and ballet shoes; Tamika, 15, is in a pink top and blue jeans; Stephanie,
16, is in a riding hat and riding boots; Angel, 13, is in Native American
inspired costume; Antoinette, 14, is in her baseball gear. Erica, 16, works on her community garden;
Pam, 14, talks to her friends; Amy, 13, does ballet; Julie, 15, was adopted
from South Korea; Kim, 13, was born without her right forearm; Christine, 16,
is against racism; Jessica, 17, works at a community center for abused women
and their families.
Im sure that theres some truth to
the claims of books such as Reviving
Ophelia, that todays girls experience all sorts of stresses and
pressures, and grow up in a culture that places far too much emphasis on
physical attractiveness and unrealistic ideal of beauty; talking with women
about their experience has led me to believe that rape and harassment are major
problems in our culture. It seems a
good idea to help girls to feel more confident and to be able to assert
themselves. I imagine that some
preteens might read through this book and find it interesting and even
But when I think back to my own
adolescent self, when I was even more cynical than I am now, and imagine what I
might have thought had I been presented with a book about the positive
accomplishments of boys, I am pretty sure that I would have been extremely
unimpressed, and indeed, I expect I would have scoffed at it. If someone were to put together a book of
the accomplishments of college professors, I might well find it riveting
reading, but Im not sure that I would find it very inspirational. Im pretty sure that it would take more than
a book listing the accomplishments of others to make me feel confident about my
own abilities. So, on the assumption
that teenage girls are not significantly more credulous than myself, Im very
doubtful that a book like this can actually be helpful to anyone.
To put my point a little more
sharply, I find it hard to believe that this kind of feel-good propaganda
would make the slightest difference in self-confidence to anyone with a mental
age greater than twelve. I may be
wrong, of course, after all, its been two decades since I was a teen. But then, I dont think that young people
have become any less cynical about the way they are fed messages in the last
twenty years indeed, with all the TV they watch, they are sophisticated
interpreters of cultural imagery. Of
course, the motives behind Every Girl Tells a Story are good, but I
imagine that most of the girls who might read it will see it as irrelevant to
their lives. My doubt about books such
as this may be fueled more by an aesthetic revulsion than evidence; when I see
inspirational vignettes about peoples accomplishments on shows like Oprah,
all I see is a highly simplistic promotion of role models. I hope that young people are not so simple
that they will be easily convinced of ideas promoted only by a pretty picture
and some well-chosen words, no matter how well intentioned they are. Recommended only to readers under 12.
© 2002 Christian Perring. First Serial Rights.
Ph.D., is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College,
Long Island. He is editor of Metapsychology Online Review.
His main research is on philosophical issues in psychiatry.
He is especially interested in exploring how philosophers can
play a greater role in public life, and he is keen to help foster
communication between philosophers, mental health professionals,
and the general public.