My Girl: Adventures with a Teen in Training

Karen Stabiner, Author Little Brown and Company $23.95 (269p) ISBN 978-0-316-60852-7
Girls turn into monsters as soon as they reach puberty-or so many mothers have warned Stabiner (All Girls). But in this charming memoir, the author argues that such doomsday predictions are not necessarily true. The mother of a relatively well-adjusted pre-teen, Stabiner describes her relationship with 11-year-old Sarah to show that mothers and daughters can live together peacefully. Rather than offering specific parenting advice, Stabiner chronicles her personal experience as a mother, touching on such universal themes as self-esteem, middle-school cliques and dealing with the turbulent emotions of adolescence. Her relationship with Sarah is not always perfect, and Stabiner describes their quarrels with honesty and emotional insight, but ultimately, their bond remains strong throughout (though skeptical readers will wonder if this will remain the case when Sarah turns 15 or 16). Stabiner's personal account won't be of much help to parents of severely troubled teens, and it provides no easy answers for how to ensure a great mother-daughter relationship. Nonetheless, her success story is an inspiring and refreshing rebuttal to the ""embattled teen caricature.""
Reviewed on: 04/11/2005
Release date: 04/01/2005
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