Note: I received free digital copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. All summaries are via NetGalley.com
Several of the ARCs I requested earlier this year had to do with girls and women throughout history and around the world. I love supporting and learning about my fellow women, so I knew these books were going to be good. And not a single one disappointed!
Good Girls, Bad Girls of the New Testament
Good Girls, Bad Girls of the New Testament invites readers to take a more nuanced look at twelve stories that feature women, to explore their lives more deeply in historical context, and to understand the real story that includes both men and women. The book goes beyond simply telling the story of a particular biblical woman to challenge readers to explore the enduring lessons the ancient writer sought to impart. These timeless lessons are as important for us today as they were thousands of years ago.
This book is not quite a devotional. It’s more a scholarly study of Biblical history and characters, focusing on twelve women who are discussed in the New Testament. I loved how knowledgeable the author is about the cultural and historical aspects of these stories, and I found myself being surprised by stories that I’ve known since childhood.
If you’re interested in how Jesus talked to and acted around women and what lessons we can learn from the “good girls” and the “bad girls” (those categories aren’t always as cut and dried as they sound) of the New Testament, this book will not disappoint. It’s chock full of historical information as well as applications for the lessons learned from each of these fascinating women.
Rating: Pretty Darn Good
In this sane, highly engaging, and informed guide for parents of daughters, Dr. Damour draws on decades of experience and the latest research to reveal the seven distinct—and absolutely normal—developmental transitions that turn girls into grown-ups. Providing realistic scenarios and welcome advice on how to engage daughters in smart, constructive ways, Untangled gives parents a broad framework for understanding their daughters while addressing their most common questions.
So the description makes this book sound terrible, I have to say. But please don’t pass this one by! Out of all the ARCs about women I’ve read so far this year, this is definitely my favorite.
I spend a lot of time teaching and working with adolescent girls who are becoming young women, and I absolutely love it. They’re thoughtful, smart, and ready to test their boundaries. This book describes the different transitions these girls go through in their teenage years, from friendships and romantic relationships to school and relationships with parents. In each chapter, the author provides examples of what a healthy transition might look like and when you should worry about your daughter in that area. It’s an enjoyable, interesting read, and the author’s suggestions on how to interact with teenage girls–when to push, when to require compliance, and when to be flexible–are spot on. (As they should be–Dr. Lisa Damour is an experienced psychologist and school counselor.)
I’m sticking this book in a file marked “later” and pulling it out when I have a teenage daughter. I highly suggest you do the same.
Rating: Re-read Worthy
For more than a decade, Katherine Zoepf has lived in or traveled throughout the Arab world, reporting on the lives of women, whose role in the region has never been more in flux. Today, young Arab women outnumber men in universities, and a few are beginning to face down religious and social tradition in order to live independently, to delay marriage, and to pursue professional goals. But their voices have not been heard. Their stories have not been told.
I was fascinated by this book. Compelling and disturbing, it tells the stories of women in many Arab countries. The author spent years living in Syria and traveling around Middle Eastern countries, interviewing young women and getting to know their worlds. Through her eyes, we get to experience the wildly varying lives of these Arabic women.
I have to say, this one was a little hard to take in. I went in with an open mind, hoping to see what women’s lives were like in this totally different part of the world, ready to accept their various experiences. But when I read about how little freedom many women have in the Arab world, and how many of them accept and defend that, it was a bit painful to read. There are descriptions of honor killings and guardianship that are difficult to swallow, alongside the descriptions of women going to college and traveling the world.
I definitely recommend this book. It’s well written and eye-opening. Just don’t expect to seamlessly connect with all the viewpoints presented.
Rating: Pretty Darn Good