The Body Image Workbook for Teens lives up to the title by guiding teen girls toward a more grounded and realistic view of themselves. It is a quick and easy read, mostly filled with strategic questionnaires for girls to answer.
The first set of questionnaires deal mostly with feelings vs. thought vs. judgements. Answers help differentiate between judgement and truth. It breaks down the various body parts and helps identify the areas a teen may have the most trouble with or should appreciate more (e.g., answering which parts come from which side of the family, and activities to treat a body with kindness). The next section goes into the changes of puberty and how they have affected the body. After that, the most common peer pressure issues, from being ‘thin enough’ to having a look that ‘fits in’, are explored. Solutions are given to help teens deal with the pressures (from peers, advertising, etc.), and slowing down to recognize that every person is distinct and unique – more than a number. Finally, topics such as conceit vs confidence, body language, and follow up thoughts after the books is completed.
Short vignettes from teens with similar examples are given throughout. Although there are many sections, each is only 1-2 pages long with a lot of room to write in answers. Because 75% of the book made up of questions, ideally this is a physical copy purchase rather than an e-book (though parents/daughters could perhaps do this together with an e device and separate notebook).
The book doesn’t just identify problems – there are quite a few solutions with each section. This makes the book both proactive (involving ways to combat body issues) and reactive (using questions to subtly identify problems).
I have a twelve year old and chose this to have a starting point with her to help her develop positive body issues. She is young enough now that she is open to discussions with her parent. But the book is also written in a friendly enough manner that older teens can work through it on their own as well. Admittedly, there are several areas that felt like psychobabble (e.g., “How do you feel about this – write it down”). But as an adult, I am more jaded in a way a teen wouldn’t be.
So yes, a useful book that is comprehensive enough to be effective and useful but not so dense as to be onerous or unusable.
Reviewed from an ARC.