Book Review: A Girl’s Gotta Do What A Girl’s Gotta Do

A Girl’s Gotta Do What A Girl’s Gotta Do by Kathleen Baty  (a book review of sorts)

I recently checked out a book about safety, self-defense etc.  for my daughter.  Well possibly for her, I wanted to look it over first.  I didn’t tell her.  I just brought it home.  I read part of it and found it very interesting, then I left it on the shelf to come back to later.

The following day, my daughter said, “I found the book you got for me.”

“Huh?  How did you know that was for you?”

She rolled her eyes.  “It was obvious.”

“So do you like it?”

“Yeah, it’s great.  I  read the first chapter about how to be safe in hotels, and then I started thinking, ‘this probably isn’t the best thing to read before going to bed.  I might have nightmares.’  So I skipped to the back of the book and read the part about self-defense so that if I did have a nightmare I could defend myself.” 

So funny and yet so practical.
I want to share the book with you as well.  It is written for teenage and college age girls.  The style is fun and engaging as my daughter has illustrated.  Did I mention she took it to her room and I haven’t seen it since? 

The point of the book is not to scare young women, but to help them be more savy, aware, and safe.  Isn’t that what we all want for our daughters. 

My daughter is 13 (going on 18, I don’t mean that in a bad way, I mean she is mature for her age. Still…) I wondered if she was old enough for this book yet.  I didn’t want to scare her, or introduce her to subjects like “date rape” too early.  Perhaps you have the same concerns, but unfortunately we can’t shelter our children as much as we would like to.  For example, tonight she said to me, “You know the story about the bath salts?”

I thought, “You mean the story I have intentionally avoided because I know it has something to do with cannibalism any kind of violence is pretty triggering for me right now.  The same story that I would never have wanted YOU to read or be aware of?”    But she did know about it.  I just nodded.

She went on, “Well they’re saying now it wasn’t bath salts, but marijuana.”  Clearly she had read the news articles and knew more about it than I did.  Thanks news media for telling my daughter about someone eating another human’s face.  Really appreciate that. 

So we can’t shelter them…

I also tried to rationalize (as you might) that she doesn’t need this book (or this sort of info) because she will date young men who have our same religious values.  Surely that makes them safe, right?  Wrong.

I have to share a story from my job.  I work in a residential treatment center for teenage sex offenders.

SIDEBAR:  An odd occupation for a survivor of childhood sexual abuse like myself.  I feel I should explain that I work graveyard.  While I am proud of the work that my co-workers do, I am not involved in it.  I don’t do groups with the boys, or treatment or anything of that nature.  I would not have lasted in this job if I did. . .

One morning as the boys were getting ready for school, one of them told me how he had gone on pass, the day before.  He went to church and met a girl.  They hit it off, and she asked for his phone number.  He laughed as he told me, “I didn’t know what to say.  I couldn’t give her the number here.”  The residents  do not have cell phones. 

He continued, “So I asked her for her number instead.”

He was quite pleased with himself, and reminded me of any other teenage boy I have known talking about girls…with one big difference.  He is a registered sex offender. Later I thought about this conversation and wondered if this girl’s parents had any idea WHOM she was talking to at church.

Now, we can give this young man the benefit of the doubt.  Perhaps he was rehabilitated in our facility (that is the goal after all) and will go forth in the world and “sin no more.”   The point remains though, that just because you meet someone at church doesn’t mean they are safe.

So yes, I decided I want my daughter to read this book.  I want her to be savy, aware and safe.

Now, can I get some volunteers for us to practice our self-defense moves?  Anyone?  Anyone?
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