A few months ago, I wrote a review of a book written for young women about modesty and had a lot of concerns about the messages the book sent. I had intended to look into other books, but got caught up in the end of our school year.
Then, recently, I had the opportunity to review another book for teen girls so long, insecurity (teen edition) by Beth Moore. I haven’t read a book by Beth Moore in a long time because there are a few little quirks about her writing that don’t sit with me. Well, actually, it’s just one, which I’ll explain later in this review.
One of the big issues I had with the other book I read was the pictures of girls in the book, in the author’s magazine for girls, and on her website. They all were supposed to represent “joyful girls” focused on inward beauty and not outward beauty, except that all of them were thin, Caucasian, long blonde (or light brown) haired girls. There weren’t any pictures in the book I read, so I went to the author’s website and read her magazine and saw her team of girls. It grieved me. Though the author’s words said one thing, the visual images she put forth presented another. What does that convey to girls? Well, I think it conveys the exact opposite of what the words of her books convey and sends the message instead, “It’s important that I’m beautiful on the inside, but on the outside I also have to look like this… to be beautiful.”
Because of my concern about the other book, I began by perusing So long, insecurity. This book is designed to look like a thick magazine. The cover has a variety of girls on the front cover. One has braces. They all look different from one another. Inside the book, the articles are interspersed with pages of Bible verses, anecdotes from young women, statistics and quizzes. The book covers great topics like fashion, media, boys, popularity, jealousy/competition, and gifts/talents. As I read each section, I was pleased with how Beth Moore tackles the topics. Even her section on Boys. The advice in this section particularly interested me in light of the book I’d read by another author that advocated a picture of boys and girls in which girls have very little to do with boys until they meet “prince charming” and marry in their twenties. Ms. Moore’s advice focuses more on girls being themselves. I love this quote, “As hard as this might sound, don’t let boys take over your thoughts.” Earlier on the same page, she says this, “There’s nothing wrong with liking boys. It’s natural—part of the way God has wired us. God made us with a desire for relationships, and it’s good to want strong, trusting, healthy relationships with guys. And at the right time, it will be great for you to find the right young man who may end up as your husband one day. But, there are some things we need to get straight first.” Page 42.
There are only two concerns I have about this book and it is a concern I have had about all of Ms. Moore’s books. It is something I disagree with her about she approaches the Bible. She asks readers to “read” into the text of the Bible. Periodically in this book, there are stories of Bible characters. Ms. Moore puts herself into the shoes of the women from the Bible like Hagar, Leah, Rachel, and Potiphar’s wife. I think there is a danger in this. We don’t know how Potiphar’s wife felt. It isn’t elaborated upon in the bible. We need to be careful not to “add” to the Word of God. By putting ourselves into these characters’ shoes, we can infer emotions and motives that weren't true. The stories in the Bible are meant to point us to God not to the people in the Bible.
There is one other note that I want to make about this book for parents. This book is not written from a reformed theological perspective. The only time this has a significant impact on the book is at the end in the section “Beginning a relationship with Christ”. Ms. Moore states “it would be my greatest privilege to introduce you to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.” On pg. 150. The rest of the next three pages give a young woman the impression that having a relationship comes about because of a choice she has made. “now if you are willing, it’s time to start living the life you were created for.” Pg. 150 How she words it may not strike you in a certain way, but I realized that this was what my husband is sensitive to. It sends the message that having a relationship with Christ is 1) all your decision (not God working in your heart) and 2) because of the work of another person (not God). I don’t mean to be nitpicky, but it’s just one of those things that I have begun to take notice of.
All in all, I really like this book. It’s one of the best I’ve seen for teen girls and their parents. I loved the sections on jealousy, boys, and fashion in particular. I will definitely use this book as a resource with my daughters as they go through their teen years to discuss issues they’re facing.
Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Tyndale Publishing.