Brave: A Teen Girl’s Guide To Beating Worry And Anxiety, by Sissy Goff
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Admittedly, I am not the intended or even ideal audience to review a book like this one. In reading this book there is something about the author’s approach that bugs me a bit. And a lot of that has to do with the author’s perspective as a therapist who has perhaps a bit too much interest in personality theory and a decided fondness for the contemporary fascination with the amygdala as well as with cognitive behavioral therapy. There is a solid book and certainly very solid material at the base of this book, but its approach is highly puzzling. It does seem as if this book is written to appeal to readers who have a fondness for the language of contemporary therapy. So if that describes you, it is likely that you will have a lot to celebrate about this book. As a reader who would have preferred a more spiritual approach to the music, I have to admit I am a bit disappointed by what this author says sometimes, but I also understand that it springs from the author’s background and interests.
This book is a relatively short one at less than 200 pages. The book begins with a note to the parent who bought this book as well as an introduction to the intended teen female reader of this book and also some things to remember that are also stated as rules for reading, but not very strict rules, obviously. This is followed by three sections. The first section discusses the issue of understanding (I) with a look at words related to fear, worry, and anxiety (1), why the reader suffers from these issues (2), and how this book will help (3). This is followed by a discussion of the author’s attempts to provide help to the reader (II) in body (4), mind (5), and heart (6). After this comes the author’s attempt to give hope to the reader (III) in times of trouble (7), with advice for them to take heart (8), and points, finally, to the way that Jesus has overcome (9), after which the book ends with notes.
Nevertheless, whatever my issues with this book’s approach and its ultimate usefulness to its target audience of teen girls and their parents, there is a lot that this book has of value. A few of the lessons of this book will be particularly useful to readers who struggle with anxiety. For one, the author makes it clear that much of what brings insecurity to young people involves the rather predatory aspects of contemporary culture. To the extent that young people can recognize that we live in a self-absorbed age and not to take it personally, that will be a very good thing. To the extent that young people recognize that adults bear responsibility for their conduct with young people in ways that young people do not, that is also helpful. This book is pretty direct and uncompromising in its language about some of the things that lead teen girls to be particularly anxious, and it is unsparing on those who take advantage of vulnerability and insecurity. I do not know how helpful this book will be to its readers, but it certainly aims very hard to encourage its intended audience.