Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Boys Will Put You on a Pedestal So They Can Look Up Your Skirt

With a title he took from an old Steve Martin routine, Phillip Van Munching has created a very nice, if not just a little out-of-touch book of advice from a father to his daughters. With a foreward from Katie Couric and a back cover testament from Dr. Phil McGraw, Boys Will Put You on a Pedestal So They Can Look Up Your Skirt: A Dad's Advice for Daughters does a fairly good job with addressing tender issues about which the author would want his daughters to know his opinions just in case he was "hit by a bus tomorrow."

Out-of-touch is really not quite the right phrase, at least when it comes to the advice which I found to be sound, direct, and rooted in traditional common sense. That is not to say, however, Van Munching took the easy way out when he ploughs through on issues like sex or drugs or faith, for example. Rather than using the tired and increasingly less relevent argument that "the Bible says," or because "God made us this way," Van Munching generally uses reasoned rationale to explain the positions he has taken. For example, a young girl should not use drugs not just (or necessarily) because of the damage it can do to a young woman's body. Rather, drugs can make a girl lose her ability to make good judgments which, in turn, can lead to a series of other, rather significant and immediate problems.

The concern I have is more in Van Munching's accounts of his own experiences with each of his topics. The stories he tells are his own direct experiences with these topics, his own experiences (I believe) may be a little off-putting for the typical young girl reader. For example, to illustrate his experience with cynicism, the author uses the first Roberto Duran/Sugar Ray Leonard fight. I'm not sure any 13-year old girls will connect with that. On the other hand, if a father reads the book and then finds a way to share it with his own daughters - even if it is a way to break the ice with his teenage daughters relative to some meaningful or difficult topic, then Van Munching has done his job.

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