Teen Girl’s Guide to the Perfect Life

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teen girl cover

So You’re a Teenage Girl
Renich-Meyers
1989 (original copyright 1966)

Now updated for the 1990s, this book is filled with advice for those girls trying to navigate life’s problems and “modern” issues such as alcohol, drugs, and teen pregnancy. Using stories to illustrate the advice, the author shares insights on dating a non Christian (not a good idea), problems with your mother (help more around the house), how to meet the right man (go to a Christian college), peer pressure, and skin care. I chose a sample called Becky’s problem. Poor Becky is pregnant with a popular athlete named Nick. Nick wants to do right, but evidently he has lost respect for Becky since she was too easy. They argue. Becky considers abortion, but her friend is horrified. Becky pops up in some later chapters, goes to church camp, and decides not to have an abortion. I still had questions: did her parents help her or kick her out of the house? What about Nick?

I think a sequel is in order:
Fast forward 25 years or so and we find that Becky is on her 4th husband and is convinced this one is the one. Nick dodged support payments for decades and went on to work for Harvey Weinstein. Becky had a boy. The kid grew up and actually managed to succeed at life with a nice job, even though his mother was constantly nagging him about going to church and constantly borrowing money.

I like my story better.

Mary

back cover

table of contents

becky's story

becky's story continued

becky's story continued

Becky's problem discussion questions

10 comments

  1. I think it needs an update, but no need to be disrespectful of the topic. Being successful and going to church aren’t exclusive for one.

  2. “Becky’s Story” really bothers me. It’s fiction, but reveals an attitude common in both religious and secular society that engaging in sex without knowing possible consequences is ALWAYS the girl’s/ woman’s fault and boys/men are never held equally culpable. This book also intimates that Nick pressuring Becky to have sex is not abusive behavior, it’s just a test to see if she’s a “good girl”! He’s just looking out for her mortal soul!

    1. From my reading of the sample, the author makes Nick look just as awful as Becky. Nick pressured Becky into sex, Becky became pregnant, Nick is now angry at Becky for either: being reluctant to marry him, getting pregnant, being so willing (Becky) to accept his offer of sex, and/or not being pregnant to continue their “sexy time.”

      As a good man, Nick must marry Becky for “the sake of baby” above all things for their mortal soul.

      I do agree that Becky is given unfair pressure in that women in these stories are always required to either have the baby and/or keep it, even if the consequences are more devasting than helpful. And men always escape the consequences of not being part of the baby’s life.

      I notice also in the book that girls are never taught to talk with their fathers about their issues, of a “womanly nature” or not. It seems to say that women talk to women about their problems and men shouldn’t be bothered about it. Its just reading the sample (it may have been in the other pages), but I suspect that the author never talks about it.

      1. Or, as in the recommended book “Just Like Ice Cream,” they’re encouraged to give the baby to a nice, Christian, heterosexually married couple to “give it a better life”(which–spoiler alert–the protagonist Julie does). I’m surprised I haven’t seen that one on ALB.

  3. The whole thing about not using protection because it would be like we were “planning” to have sex is exactly why “abstinance only” sex-ed doesn’t work. Because people will have sex. But if you’re not prepared – or you don’t even know how to prepare – you’re more likely to get pregnant (or an std). It’s OK to say “don’t have sex” but you have to follow with “but if you DO have sex, use protection”. Acting like just saying “don’t have sex” will stop teens from having sex, is stupid.

  4. Becky’s Story is just head shaking

    1). I can understand Becky’s reltunence to go to the doctor, but you think she want to conform the pregnancy was real or not right away.

    2). Why doesn’t Becky go to her father or other adult family member in helping her deal with her pregnancy? I know she’s scared of the consequences but its better than nothing.

    3). Jan, God killed David and Bathsheba’s baby that was convinced during their adulterous affair.It seems like you are encouraging (intentional or not) of an abortion through “natural means” or God’s work.

  5. Nice to know that some books written by men in a Jewish religious sect 2,000 years ago are still useful for solving 21st century young women’s problems…

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