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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bringing Up Girls, a review


Bringing Up Girls by Dr. James Dobson, 978-1-4143-0127-3, HC, $25.99

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Bringing Up Girls was the long awaited follow-up to Dr. James Dobson’s well-known and much praised Bringing Up Boys.  Couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and see what the good doctor had to say about raising girls.  I have two precious princesses who, I admit, sometimes have me stumped (it seems odd that my girls should stump me more than my boys, seeing as how I’m a girl myself, but there you go).  So, it was with great anticipation that I opened this tome of “Practical advice and encouragement for those shaping the next generation of women,” seeking Dr. Dobson’s years of expertise.

Let us say I was underwhelmed.  In fact, I got the distinct impression Dr. Dobson was “phoning it in.”  There’s very little new or original in this book, rather it’s a somewhat disjointed collection of reports from studies, quotes from other Dobson books, quotes from other author’s books and articles, transcripts from interviews, transcripts from Focus on the Family speeches and workshops, brief Q & A sections addressing specific issues, anecdotes, and a little analysis by Dr. Dobson here and there.  The pages that don’t have block quotes are rare, and sometimes you have to go back a few pages to the beginning of a quote to remember who’s being quoted.  One whole chapter is a reprint from another author’s book (with permission, of course). 

Overall, the book reads like a meandering reflection of what girls are like and the dangers they face in today’s society if they don’t get what they need (or even if they get what they need, is it that bleak?), and in that regard, it does a decent job. 

The main message I took away from Bringing Up Girls is that fathers pay a key role in their princesses lives.  I get that, and happen to agree.  Getting fathers to read one or two well-selected chapters might be a place to start.  The interview segments of teenaged girls talking about their relationships (or lack thereof) with their daddies were poignant and reminded me of what was lacking in my own relationship with my father. 

So often when I read this book, I felt like I was just hearing the message “our girls are in danger,” and “they really need their dads” repeated over and over again.  That’s a worthwhile message.  It just doesn’t go far enough.

But if you are looking for actual practical advice…Bringing Up Girls is pretty light in the practical advice department.  There are little anecdotes,  cute stories, platitudes, Scripture, and so forth, a lot of things you’ve probably already read elsewhere (literally;0), but not much in the way of true advice.

Bringing Up Girls is available from both local and online booksellers.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book from the Tyndale Blog Network for review.  I received no monetary compensation and the opinions expressed here are my own.

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