International Writers Magazine:
Childrens Books Reviews
Boys and Bad Hair Days by Anita Naik
Publisher: Hodder Childrens books.
a bad hair day? Fancy that guy in school whos just too cool
for you? Sick of your family treating you like a kid? Or just in
desperate need of some advice? Bras, Boys and Bad Hair Days says
It is essentially
a self-help guide for 12 to 14 year old girls. For those who are entering
the realm of secondary school and trying to deal with a world of different
emotions this book arrives in perfect timing. Recent films such as Angus,
Thongs and Perfect Snogging, based on Louise Rennisons novel Angus,
Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (sadly an old favourite of mine),
also deal with similar themes and therefore capture a similar audience.
Showing that this book fits with the culture of todays young teenagers.
The books chapters all centre around how to live with different
aspects of life be it living with your body, living with friends or
living green. It attempts to boost the confidence of the reader with
such themes as growing up, presentation of oneself on a day-to-day basis,
sexuality and the opposite sex. This is seen in the closing quote you
have the power to turn things around. So dont wait to be pushed
hold your head up high, take a deep breath and go forth and conquer
your life with style.
As in many of the chapters the How to end sibling rivalry
section is most profound in approaching the concept of maturity and
power, yet Anita does this not through flattery or self-pity but by
treating them as mature women something a girl of that age would
not have normally been greeted with before.
The book is instructive in how to cope with everyday dilemmas that the
modern woman has to deal with. I dont necessarily
agree with the idea of the book. It isnt dealing with the girls
insecurities in a way that makes them comfortable with themselves. She
discusses How to have style helping a girl to choose what
style suits her personality and body shape yet in How to get a
guy to like you she doesnt once mention that a guy should
in fact like you for who you are. Many of these little sections dont
consider that the girls can be themselves and can naturally mature into
who they should be.
Some of the sections, such as How to get over a guy, however
did make me think twice about the image of the book and its aims. Though
simple in many respects the book does subtly prepare girls for the real
hardships of later life. This is also seen in the Living Green
chapter, which approaches the subject of global warming, something which
should be on everyones mind. What also provided some insight into
the book was the way it could be read. I found it actually came in handy
in my household of girls, laughing at How to give an expert kiss
and taking on board the ideas behind How to get over a guy.
Yet I am still uncomfortable with the notion that girls this age need
advice from an outside influence.
I think perhaps the book started out to as trying to help young girls
with growing up, but went too far by just focusing on moulding them
into someone who follows the conventions of society. I wouldnt
recommend this self-help guide to a young girl. It is too
simplistic to truly help, which leads to too many generalisations on
how girls should act and react to different events in her life. Be it
breaking up with a boyfriend of two weeks or wishing you didnt
have that mass of untameable curls on your head. If however you feel
you would enjoy this book I suggest you dont take it too seriously
or attempt to follow the rules as strictly as presented, but to just
enjoy it for what it is aka: bras, boys and bad hair days.
© Kathyn Honeycombe
kathryn at honeycombe.org.uk
studying Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth
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