Friday, February 10, 2012

Review: What's Wrong With Me? by Daree Allen

Title:  What’s Wrong With Me?: A Girl’s Guide Book of Lessons Learned, Inspiration and Advice
Author:  Daree Allen
Genre:  Young Adult/Self-Help
Publisher:  Kharacter Distinction Books 
Format:  Paperback/Provided by Author
Release Date:  February 14, 2012
    *book was provided by author in exchange for an honest review and participation in a blog tour*

“What’s wrong with me?” It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves. Today’s age of everything-goes media messages and in-your-face sexuality has led many teenage girls grappling with self-esteem and self-worth. Author Daree Allen, MS guides girls through their young adulthood by teaching lessons shared from her own experiences in her debut offering, What’s Wrong With Me?: A Girl’s Guide Book of Lessons Learned, Inspiration and Advice. She offers self-empowering building blocks designed to strengthen young women’s inner truths in the face of relationships with themselves, others, and God. Fundamental to the inner truths are the foundational blocks that allow them to learn to love the skin they’re in, realize their dreams and make a positive impact on the world (synopsis courtesy of author/publisher).

Ms. Allen has written a self-help book intended to show older teens that there is someone out there who understands what they are going through, sort of a “been there, done that” handbook for teens. I admire her tenacity and ability to admit the mistakes she made in her life in an effort to show young ladies that there really are people who are able to understand them and their problems.  Allen packs this easy-to-read, informative book with advice about just about everything, from body image, dating and sex to personal finance and discovering one’s life purpose. And she doesn’t pull any punches; she tells it like it is. That was refreshing. What’s Wrong With Me? also has a strong religious message, and uses scripture to help point girls in the right direction.

There were some really great things in this book. I liked Allen’s “Further Reading” at the end of each chapter. It gives the reader an opportunity to expand on the message of that chapter. I also liked the various sidebars contained throughout the book; in particular the advice about taking care of oneself through diet was well-written. I felt that chapter six was the best chapter in the book, with some really solid advice about choosing your friends wisely, and letting go of toxic friendships.  My favorite quote in the book is contained in chapter six:  “Don’t underestimate the value of having the right people in your life. Toxic relationships, friendships, and family members drain your energy and—if you’re not careful—can make you lose sight of your focus, distorting it.  With some people, there comes a time to stop trying to be their friend and let them go. Toxic people will only bring you down.”  Very well said and very true. 

There were also some things about the book that I felt needed some work. There were a few instances in the book in which Allen skimmed over some issues that I felt should not have been skimmed over.  I believe subjects such as anorexia, bulimia and suicide are problems that deserve a bit more attention than a mention at the end of a chapter (though I appreciated the addition of hotline numbers for the aforementioned). I also felt that Allen took a rather negative view of marriage. I understand that she was approaching the subject of marriage from the perspective of a divorced, single mother, but in a self-help book for young woman, other perspectives should be explored. There are marriages that are stable and lasting, not all (or even most) men leave. The other side of the coin should have been shown.  Finally, I was a bit put off by the frequent references to “White folks,” as was my 17-year-old daughter, who read several chapters of the book. To quote her: “Teenage girls are pretty much the same, no matter what our skin color is. We all have a lot of the same problems.”

All in all, What Wrong With Me? is a good book. It is filled with some really solid advice for dealing with the different problems that arise in a lot of teenage girls’ lives. I think this book would be great for church youth groups, teen bible studies or girl groups. Having an adult mentor to guide the girls through the book would be very beneficial. 

My grade for What's Wrong With Me?:  


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