Being a Girl by Hayley Long

Posted in Books

Hello!  I’ve had such a positive reaction to my book posts, it has made my little bookworm heart sing with endless joy.    I thought I would start to have a go at writing dedicated book reviews, to see if you liked them too.    The book I am talking about today is Being a Girl by Hayley Long.

Being a Girl by Hayley Long - Famous in Japan

Being a Girl by Hayley Long

Publication Date: 04 June 2015
Publisher: Hot Key Books

When I was younger I had an advice book similar to Being a Girl.  It was called “I Was a Teenage Worrier”.  Did anyone else have that book?  Needless to say, my copy was falling apart at the spine; it would always be the book I turned to in times of need.

When I heard about Being a Girl, I was interested to see how modern and up to date with current issues it would be.  Things have definitely changed since I was a young girl, and not for the better might I add.    I deliberated about whether to buy it (was I too old?), but eventually I gave in.    I reserved a copy at my local Waterstones during my lunch hour and I picked it up after work.

Being a Girl deals with issues that most girls will face such as body image, periods, school troubles, and it also talks about modern issues such as gender and cyber bullying.

Being a Girl by Hayley Long -- Famous in Japan

This is my favourite illustration!

Being a Girl is an excellent guide for the modern young girl.  I thought it was incredibly well written, and I could tell that this book had taken a lot of thought and consideration.   There was a friendly tone present throughout, without any preaching or patronising.    Hayley comes across as a “big sister” dishing out advice, which definitely helps the book to feel more relatable and accessible.    There wasn’t a point where I felt I was being “dictated” to about how I should feel or how I should act.  There are some issues where Hayley does have to take on a stern voice, but again it comes across as a concerned big sister.

Of course, I absolutely loved the emphasis on feminism, and portraying it in a positive light.  Hayley showcases some badass women in history to show you that these women are awesome and you can be awesome too.

I have to say that it was refreshing to read a book like this that emphasised the importance of  being nice to each other.  Sometimes, it is too easy to fall into the trap of encouraging girl on girl hate, internalised misogny and competition, but this book was all about being happy with who you are, without it being at the expense of someone else’s happiness.

I think the reason that this book is so good is because Hayley herself used to be a teacher.  She has a lot of experience with dealing with young girls and understands them.  She understands that getting changed in front of your peers in PE is BLOODY AWFUL and will still traumatize you 10 years later.

The addition of Gemma Correll’s illustrations help the book to come across as friendly and engaging.  It’s not pages and pages of text, which will bore most teenagers and put them off reading further.  They really do help to make Being a Girl a fun read, even during the sections where things do become quite serious.

Whilst I am probably too old for the intended target audience of this book, I still really enjoyed it.  I even learnt some stuff from the book myself.    Being a Girl would make an ideal gift for a younger relative, or even your own daughter if you are too embarrassed to talk about certain issues.    I can imagine this being really popular in school libraries, so let’s hope schools stock multiple copies so that no one goes without.

Dannie x

July 8, 2015
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