The Ultimate Survival Guide to Being a Girl: On Love, Body Image, School, and Making It Through Life by Christina De Witte
Addressing the struggles of young girls everywhere, this hilariously relatable comic guide to life provides real advice and encourages a new generation of teen girls to find confidence and embrace individuality.
With friends, love, social media, body image, and more--navigating young adulthood can seem impossible. The Ultimate Survival Guide to Being a Girl provides humorous and highly relatable guidelines for all of the struggles young girls face, presented in author Christina De Witte's signature comic style and told from the point of view of her lovable Instagram and Internet character, Chrostin. A Hyperbole and a Half for the young adult audience, the book includes comics and hands-on advice about serious issues like mental health and self-care, and also deals with questions on every young girl's mind, like "Can you survive on pizza alone?"
Quirky, hilarious, and sincere, The Ultimate Survival Guide to Being a Girl empowers young women to challenge society's unrealistic standards of beauty and embrace their individuality. This is sure to be a favorite for teen girls.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from NetGalley and Running Press Kids in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Writing an advice book for young women is easier said than done. There’s a lot going on in their heads, with their bodies, and the great wide world around them. When I was a kid, my mum grabbed a religious-toned book and gave it to me and that was “the talk”. I don’t remember what it was anymore, but I do remember the premise: everything is natural, your body is god’s temple and do not despoil it, and pray for guidance daily.
With all due respect to the religious folk, it was not very helpful. It didn’t explain how and how much I was supposed to shave all their weird hair or how to use a tampon and WTF is up with Boys. It definitely didn’t explore sexual and gender identity or social responsibility.
Puberty is a crazy time, y’all. Ideally, we’d all have something akin to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy where we can ask the digital book a question and it would have a snarky but super helpful answer. Google is good for that, sometimes. For all the rest, we have “girls’ guide” books like this one.
Christina hits some points really well, but other discussions feel like blog posts where she is discussing her personal exploits and individual opinions. For the entire time, I felt like I was reading a blog, not a structured non-fiction book. In ways, it makes it more casual and relatable, but sometimes I just wish she would be a bit more professional considering the type of book she has chosen to write. It’s not a memoir, so don’t treat it like one.
The formatting of the book is all over the place. Even though there are clear chapter headings, we went from shaving to vegetarianism in the same chapter. She also gets very preachy about some of her personal opinions, encouraging all young girls to switch to a meat-free diet and telling them that she has a perfect life because she had a great boyfriend and a job she loves and wears cute clothes and makeup (as though that were the recipe for success). For some young women, this will be a perfect fit. For others, it will make them uncomfortable because it doesn’t line up with the things that make them feel happy and confident.
Overall, I’d say that this book isn’t bad as a general read, but I don’t think it’s the One. She skims briefly over socially charged topics such as the LGBTQ+ community and definitions, while focusing for a long time on things like nutrition. I would really have liked to see more social responsibility discussion (sexism, racism, etc.), as it’s very important in the modern world. She discusses it in the reference of “what to do when you are being prejudiced against” but not “how to NOT be a sexist/racist/homophobe/etc.”. At one point, in discussing toxic relationships, she advises the reader that “acting like a bitch” is not the way to go. I agree, it isn’t, but woah now! I don’t want to see women calling each other that anywhere, but especially not in a book that claims to have an outline of behaviors for young adulthood.
Some of her sections are fueled by facts and references, while others are very self-driven. Depending on what sorts of things a young woman wants to learn about, this could be a great book. Or a terrible one. It definitely would not have worked for me, but I think a lot of young women would appreciate a guidebook written by a 20 y/o.