Tuesday, January 12, 2010

TLC Book Tour - Body Scoop for Girls by Dr. Jennifer Ashton

When I was asked to be a part of Dr. Ashton's book tour, I hesitated a little. I'm not usually one to review books like this. But with 2 girls in the house, I was a bit intrigued and figured I'd give it a go. The Body Scoop for Girls: A Straight-Talk Guide to a Healthy, Beautiful You by Dr. Jennifer Ashton (304 pgs, Avery Trade, 2009) is a no-nonsense look at the teenage girl's every changing body.

First off, just let me say this: Dr. Ashton is not your mother's OB. She is young, hip, and understanding of the teenage girl. From page 1, she becomes an advocate for her patients. In her practice, she specializes in treating teenagers. This book is written as a guide to help those teens understand their bodies just a little bit better.

The book is laid out in 3 sections: What to Expect When You're Adolescent, The Straight Talk on Sex, and Your Body's Lifetime Warranty: Staying Healthy for Life.

"The way health, sex, and physical information is handled by schools, teachers, doctors and even some parents, you'd think today's girls were living in a time warp. Sex ed is still taught exactly the same way it was 30 years ago (often it's all-abstinence-all-the-time). Most parents still have a tough time talking with their daughters about their bodies. Even doctors don't seem to want to talk straight with girls. Old-school doctors always seem to fall into two groups: The "Just-Say-No" group (as in "Can we talk about safe sex?" "No.") and the "Free Love" group ("Whatever you do is beautiful. Just use condoms.") Come on people! This is the information age! If you ask me, both these approaches are disrespectful to girls. I believe in giving you all the information you need, at the right age, so you can make smart choices for your body and your emotional health. That doesn't mean I'd tell you it's OK to have sex at a young age. In fact, I'll tell you the medical reasons why that's not a good idea. But I'll also expect you to use your own best judgement and I'll treat you accordingly, with respect for the choices you make."

That paragraph pretty much sets the tone for the entire book. She is frank and honest, and treats the reader as an adult. Dr. Ashton doesn't preach to girls at all. Instead she gives them all the information necessary for THEM to make informed decisions. I think this book is perfect for the young, teenage girl because it's an excellent resource. It was hard being a teenage girl when I grew up. I can't even imagine what it's like today. The world we are living in has changed immensely since I was a teen. and I know the pressure has increased exponentially.

In the first section, she guides you through explanations about your changing body, from puberty to piercings. In an easy to read format, complete with Dr. Ashton's "Playlists" (certain advice that she offers over and over) and questions to ask yourself, Dr. Ashton gives a no-holds barred explanation for all topics, especially those that girls might find embarrassing to talk about. Each chapter is filled with facts, do's and don'ts, and "myths" to be debunked.

The second section is a forthright discussion on sex. I am under no delusions that girls are having sex at younger and younger ages all the time. I hope to be able to talk to my own daughters about it, and using this book would be a great idea. Dr. Ashton gives many reason why it's important for your physical and emotional health to wait until you are older. But if you aren't going to wait, she gives the 4-1-1 on birth control and information about STD's.

The final chapter deals with a girl's overall health and welfare. One chapter deals with weight and how to keep and maintain a HEALTHY weight. Another discusses smoking, drinking and drugs. And a final chapter on mood disorders.

I find it extremely hard to review a book like this one. Not fiction or story, but all information. I sat down and read Body Scoop in a couple of hours. It is definitely one that I will be putting on the shelf and saving for a few years till my daughters are at the age to need it. That time seems to be creeping up on my faster than I would like. As for Dr. Ashton and Body Scoop, I will have to give both a definite thumbs up!


Michelle said...

That actually sounds quite interesting and definitely a book I wish my mother would have had for me when I was going through puberty. I will have to check it out for Holly. If she is like me, I only have a few years left before she'll start showing signs.

Suko said...

Excellent review!

Eva said...

I'm glad that she's not one of those abstinence-only people. They drive me insane! On the other hand, thinking about teens having sex is one of the things that makes me question parenthood. LOL

LisaMM said...

I really need to get this book, because my kids roll their eyes when I try to talk to them about all this kind of stuff. I need back-up from someone young & hip!!

Thanks so much for a great review, and for all the time you put into it! We really appreciate it.

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