The Body Image Book for Girls: Love yourself and grow up fearless

by | Nov 12, 2020 | Book Review, Illustrated book, Non-Fiction

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Book Details

The Body Image Book for Girls: Love yourself and grow up fearless
Charlotte Markey, illus. Tim Oliver. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pb 978 1 1087 1877 6, 2020, £9.99, 228pp.
Non-fiction, illustrated, 11+ years

How girls view themselves, especially as they enter their teens, is a matter of concern as advertisements and social media present a supposed ideal that is almost impossible to achieve – photoshopping has much to answer for.

The result is anxiety, stress and a very unhealthy approach to diet. Anorexia and bulimia are a very real possibility for many. Where can girls get advice? The family may be too close. Perhaps someone a bit more distanced? Charlotte Markey is that person. She is very well qualified for the role as a psychologist specialising in body image research.

In this accessible paperback, she looks in detail at every aspect of puberty and the teenage years. She ranges from the physical changes that will take place – the first period, the first bra – to how one might feel about oneself and how to nurture self-esteem. She starts by defining what “body image” means to herself – and to the reader. Her approach is friendly and conversational. This is a contrast to many of the other manuals on the market where the approach is more distanced and straightforwardly informational. However, Dr Markey does not skimp on the facts, backing up her statements with the why. She also introduces personal accounts from real young people and Q & A sessions based around real questions. The result makes difficult subjects both readable and unthreatening.

The design emphasises this with the lively, friendly illustrations by Tim Oliver while colours are used to highlight different aspects, purple for Myths and Misbeliefs, green for the personal stories. Again, this helps the informal, approachable feel; young readers could start by just dipping into sections that catch the eye, then reassured delve a bit further. There is a detailed Contents to guide the reader, an extensive glossary to cover technical and indeed non-technical terms and there is an index for specific access.

This is a book that should be freely and easily available to pre-teen and teenage girls.

Review by FMH