Rules for Being a Girl
Momma Leighellen's Book Review
It’s that good.
Rules for Being a Girl has the potential to be for this generation of young women what Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret had on my generation. I wish I had this book when I was in High School! This is a fun, quick read that pushes you to think more deeply about societal norms.
“There are these guidelines we’re supposed to follow. Be confident but not aggressive. Be funny but in a low-key way. Eat cheeseburgers but don’t get fat. Be fun but don’t lose control. Don’t distract the boys by having a body.”
What’s it about?
This is a YA contemporary fiction book that follows a series of events that happen to a high school girl after her english teacher comes on to her. It covers not only her confusing feelings and the shocking reactions of people close to her, but also her own awakening as she begins to process everything. She ends up turning to writing and books to help her cope, penning a powerful piece for her school newspaper as well as starting a feminist book club at her school.
“There are different ways to being a rebel. Doing what you can with what you have.”
While the reactions of some of the people involved – the principal for example – are what i would expect, I love this book for providing other strong role models. Her parents defend her and another teacher comes long side her so she doesn’t go through it alone. The side story with her visits to her grandmother in a nursing home provide historical insight in ways women have always struggled with balance of what is expected vs what we are supposed to be or do.
“It is never a mistake to tell the truth. You aren’t asking for anything by being you.”
I would call this book “feminist light”. This is a good starting point for a middle school or early high school girl who maybe hasn’t wrestled with these deeper issues yet so maybe isn’t prepared to read a more intense book like Know My Name: A Memoir and My Dark Vanessa. This is a book that is a great stepping stone for pointing out inequalities in life and societal imbalance when it comes to being a woman. I enjoyed it!