Review Blog

Dec 09 2015

Ask me anything (heartfelt answers to 65 anonymous questions from teenage girls) by Rebecca Sparrow

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University of Queensland Press, 2015. ISBN 9780702253874
Recommended. (Age: 12+) Rebecca Sparrow is a journalist, novelist, philanthropist and parent who understands the challenges of adolescence. Ask me anything is the third book in which she aims to reassure teenage girls that they are not alone in wondering how to cope with some of life's most troubling issues.
In her introduction, the author explains that when she speaks to school groups, she asks students to record their concerns anonymously. The result is a range of honest questions about subjects as varied as maintaining friendships, bullying, self-harm, eating disorders, sexual orientation and bereavement. Rebecca Sparrow responds respectfully and thoughtfully to each question, drawing not only on her own experiences and emotional intelligence but also on the wisdom of twenty-one experts in the field of women's health and well-being. The questions and answers have been organised into four broad categories - Friendship, Life, Love and Family. They are followed by a list of recommended print resources as well as websites of organisations offering telephone support to those who need to discuss their problems with a trusted advisor. A summary of the qualifications and professional roles of each of the experts consulted indicates the seriousness with which the author has approached her task. Members of Rebecca Sparrow's target audience will find her writing style frank, informal and engaging, while the adults who care for them may be heartened by the author's evident sense of responsibility for her readers' welfare.
In a complex society, young adults often need understanding and guidance about emotional and social issues. Ask me anything aims to respond to that need with mature, well-considered and empathetic advice.
Elizabeth Bor

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