Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Body Scoop for Girls - Jennifer Ashton


When Lisa @ Books on the Brain contacted me and offered me the opportunity to review this book for a TLC Book Tour, I didn't hesitate. While this is not the type of book I normally read, I do have a daughter who is about to turn 12. I'm entering scary territory here people! She and I had the period talk a couple of years ago, and that, by itself was wrought with angst. My daughter is a worrier, so I had to convince her, at least fifty times, that she wasn't going to die from the pain, and arrange a secret code word that she could whisper to me over the school phone if she ever had a period emergency.

But then the school chose, this past summer, to send out Catholic-sanctioned booklets about sex to the parents of all the upcoming sixth graders. The intent was that the parents read the info, then discuss it with their kids. Now you know, and I know, that there are parents who, rather than have the difficult discussion, simply handed the booklets to their kids and told them to have at it. So essentially the cat was out of the bag, and therefore forced my hand. And this is a slippery slope. You talk about sex, then you have to talk about reproduction, disease, peer pressure, the whole bit.

The Body Scoop for Girls was a breath of fresh air. Written by an OB-Gyn that specializes in adolescents, this lady is hip and current. She wears leopard-print skirts and strappy heels. She gives her patients lattes and fuzzy robes! I want to go there! She also, in concise, no-nonsense language, tells is like it is to a generation of girls who are growing up under a different set of circumstances than we did.

All the bases are covered. She covers the basics, such as breast development, periods, body hair and changes in the appearance of the body. But she also addresses waxing and grooming, piercing, excessive cramping, infections, breast exams, drugs, alcohol and smoking, the importance of eating healthy and about body image. But the heavy stuff? A good third of the book is dedicated to sex. A list of reasons to wait until you are 18. Safe sex, the dangers of oral sex, how to talk to your boyfriend about your decisions, birth control A to Z, and STIs. No stone is left unturned. Yes, it is all bound to curl our hair as parents, but I don't think we can hide our heads in the sand. There is too much at risk.

The book is written as if Dr. Ashton is speaking directly to the teen. Will a teen really read it? Perhaps not the entire thing, because there is alot of information here to digest at once. But the language is not preachy and not overly technical, so it would be easy enough for a 14 or 15 year old to comprehend. Practically, I think the book is perfect for a parent to read, and armed with the facts, speak with their daughter about the topics that are applicable. Maybe even have them read a chapter and then talk about it afterwards.

One particular aspect of the book that demonstrates Dr. Ashton's progressive attitude is that she answers questions as they pertain to those girls who are lesbians. Nobody is left out in the cold with Dr. Ashton.

I'd like to thank Lisa and Beth at Avery for the opportunity to review this book, and keep as a very important reference and guide to get me through the minefield of the teenage years.

4 out 5 stars


23 comments:

Melody said...

I've a few more years to go before my eldest daughter enters the adolescent stage, and this book is what I need in preparation for that time to come! Thanks for the review, Sandy!

Anna said...

The Girl has already asked me about sex, and let me tell you, I certainly wasn't ready to have the talk when she's only 9! At least she had the right reaction--"OMG, that's gross!"

I think this sounds like a great resource for us moms who understand the importance of our daughters having all the facts. I'll keep this one in mind.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

JoAnn said...

I could have used this 7 or 8 years ago!! My 19 year old is now explaining things to ME - lol!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

This sounds great. And how wonderful that she even addresses lesbianism. The slippery slope thing would have me taking tranquilizers so it would be so helpful to have a book that not only helps the kids but the parents too! :--)

bermudaonion said...

Oh, the dreaded sex talk. I remember that day very well. Vance's school did an excellent job with it, though, so I just had to re-enforce what they said and let him know my attitudes. I do think it's all a little easier with boys, though.

Frances said...

My girl just turned 12 last week so I am right there with you. And she hates having these talks! She begs to be handed a book as a matter of fact. Says she will get back to me with any questions. I look at her dumbfounded. But I am all ready to go. I have been over-thinking this for weeks I say to myself. So the question is, Sandy, is this book for moms or girls or both? Who is the audience?

Sandy Nawrot said...

Frances - the answer is both. Ashton's voice sounds like she is directly addressing the girls, but I'm not sure if my daughter would be in the position yet to sit down and read the whole thing. But it is written so you could potentially hand it over to your daughter if you thought she was mature enough. It also has a nice easy tone that is calming and educational for the parents too.

The Bumbles said...

I got a book left on my pillow when I was entering the teen years! On the one hand I was thankful not to be embarrassed by a "talk" but on the other, it made things less approachable so I sought out answers from friends and health class! Maybe if the book had been more like this one, both sides would have survived the ordeal much better! Kudos to you for being a mom with a brave and responsible approach - some day your daughter will thank you ;0)

Dar said...

Great review Sandy. I've read a few reviews on this book now and it sounds like such a good book for teens to learn in a good way. I remember back in my time you got handed a book and told to read it. My mom really wasn't one for explaining things at all. All that ends up in is a lot of confusion and being scared.

Kimberly said...

I'm 43 and still waiting for the Birds and the Bees talk! LOL! Therefore, I'm so glad to have such a resource. My son turns 12 in a couple of weeks...he let us know he knew more than we thought he did. I almost got sick to my stomach! But at least he's somewhat comfortable speaking with us. My daughter just turned 8 so I'm still a year or 2 away, which means this book and your review came just in time for me!! Thanks, Sandy!

Julie P. said...

I have a 10 year old daughter and this book sounds perfect! Thanks for the honest review!

April said...

Great review! My stop is Feb. 1st, I can't wait! My daughter is 7, so has a few years, but I am needing all that time to prepare myself, lol!

Suko said...

Terrific review! I should have mentioned the lattes and robes in my own review. It sounds as if you think this book is a great resource for girls, their moms, and perhaps a few "hip" grandmothers!

LisaMM said...

Sandy! Thanks so much for an engaging and thorough review of this book! I so hoped it would be a great resource for moms and it sounds like it really is. We really appreciate the time and effort that went into reading and reviewing THe Body Scoop for it's TLC tour. Thanks again!

Kathleen said...

I'm glad you found a resource to help prepare you for the teenage years with your daughter. Based on your description, the book sounds like a valuable one to have on the shelf for handy, future reference. I feel lucky that I have a son...seems much easier or it has been to prep him for all this stuff but it wasn't exactly the cakewalk I thought it would be either! Turns out these boys are more complex than I thought! Ha

Zibilee said...

Awesome review! I am on this tour as well and think that the book is really laid out in a cool way and that Dr. Ashton has a very direct and conversational way of dealing with the subjects she presents. I loved this book and am really glad that I will be handing it over to my daughter. She is the quiet type, and topics like this are hard to address with her.

Jenners said...

I'm sure this book seems like a godsend for you and your daughter. I love that you have a code word!

nandellheim said...

Since you're on the subject of teens and bodies, we're passing along this book review:
http://getbetterhealth.com/teen-girls-and-the-how-i-look-journal/2010.01.02#more-13991

Lisa said...

I was really glad that I had agreed to review this, too. My almost 15yo and I read it together. Some stuff we kind of skimmed over but now she knows it's there. And we put the book in her room so any time she has a question she is too embarrassed to ask, she's got that book handy.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Fuzzy robes and lattes?!? The best I ever got at the OB-GYN was a scratchy piece of cloth (well, two "one open in the back, the other across your waist") and pot-holders on those cold stirrups!

This book would be perfect for me and my family. I've had bits and pieces of the THE TALK with my older daughter, but really need to openly address a few more issues. And the younger daughter will need it, too ...

Great, honest review, Sandy.

Beth F said...

One of those times when I'm glad I'm not parent! But this sounds like a great book for parents and to have in the house for their teen daughters.

Alice Teh said...

If I have my own daughter, I would definitely encourage her to read this.

Funny that the novel I'm currently reading (The Unsung Hero) by Suzanne Brockmann features a female doctor named Dr Ashton as well. ;-)

Melissa said...

I have a LONG way to go before I need a book like this, but I love that there are now books that address all these issues, that are written for teens! My daughter will be educated and resources like these will help me get her the info she needs.