An optimistic examination of girlhood in contemporary America. Journalist Stabiner was utterly in love with her daughter, Sarah. And Sarah was utterly in love back. Then, as Sarah approached her "tween" years, mom and daughter alike began to hear scary prognostications. Sarah would turn into a queen-bee, or a wanna-be, or an Ophelia. . .This is what Stabiner's friends, and the available parenting-a-tween-or-teen-girl books, predicted. But the author felt that the tween years couldn't really be that bleak. So she began to take notes about her relationship with her daughter. In her seventh outing, Stabiner insists that the pundits are giving girls a bad rap. She present a different model, of a mom and a tween who seem to be doing just fine, thank you, and meanwhile, offers wisdom on topics ranging from cliques to hairdoes. But her greatest strength is her way with the language. The descriptions are lyrical and sensuous. . . a funny and very smart read.
© Kirkus Reviews 2005.
Stabiner, whose acclaimed titles include All Girls: Single-Sex Education and Why It Matters, tells her own story in this vivid, intimate memoir about watching her daughter enter adolescence. In a moving introduction, Stabiner discusses the “embattled caricature” of teenage girls as victims of eating disorders, low self-esteem, bullying, and more, pointing out that a recent spate of related titles have focused on a small percentage of teens, many of whom are in treatment for problems. As Stabiner says, “happy girls need not apply.”
In fluid, highly quotable prose, she relates her changing relationship with her daughter, alternating personal scenes with research and expert opinions. . . her perspective on healthy girls is refreshing and important, and many readers will be grateful for Stabiner’s humor, candor, and insight into parenting and the small moments that create the deepest bonds between parents and children.
© Booklist 2005.
Girls turn into monsters as soon as they reach puberty-or so many mothers have warned Stabiner (All Girls). But in this charming memoir, the author argues that such doomsday predictions are not necessarily true. The mother of a relatively well-adjusted pre-teen, Stabiner describes her relationship with 11-year-old Sarah to show that mothers and daughters can live together peacefully. Rather than offering specific parenting advice, Stabiner chronicles her personal experience as a mother, touching on such universal themes as self-esteem, middle-school cliques and dealing with the turbulent emotions of adolescence. Her relationship with Sarah is not always perfect, and Stabiner describes their quarrels with honesty and emotional insight, but ultimately, their bond remains strong throughout (though skeptical readers will wonder if this will remain the case when Sarah turns 15 or 16). Stabiner's personal account won't be of much help to parents of severely troubled teens, and it provides no easy answers for how to ensure a great mother-daughter relationship. Nonetheless, her success story is an inspiring and refreshing rebuttal to the "embattled teen caricature."