Friday, May 8, 2015

"The Truth" by Barbara Becker Holstein

The Truth,
Diary of a Gutsy Tween
(Truth Book 1)
by Barbara Becker Holstein

The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween is the first book in the Truth series by Barbara Becker Holstein. Also available: Secrets, Diary of a Gutsy Teen (read my blog post).

The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween is currently on tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

"I hate Angela and I wish she would move away tomorrow!" "I get so worried when I hear my parents fighting at night." "My mother thinks my crush is silly. I know I am in love!" "I have so many questions about growing up. Who will answer them?" "I feel so awful when Jake makes fun of me." "When I grow up I going to remember how to have fun with my kids and never look away." Growing up is tough. Adults don't always understand you (even though they were once kids), and children today face increasing pressure to be, look, or act a certain way. Written in the voice of a girl on the cusp of becoming a teenager, The Truth provides young girls with an opportunity to see how a girl, who is in many ways like themselves, handles her toughest problems and most personal thoughts. Each new page brings forth a discussion to help girls handle everyday problems: How do you survive a bully? How do you handle a crush on a boy? What can you do about relentless teasing by your peers? What really matters as you grow older?
In a positive and supportive diary-entry format, Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein encourages tween girls to carry the most precious parts of themselves into adulthood. A great book for mothers and daughters to read together, The Truth is aimed to improve communication, understanding, and self-esteem for young girls as they enter the rocky road of teenager-dom.

Book Video

When I was a girl I knew so many things. I knew a lot of important stuff that my parents and other grown-ups had forgotten. I promised myself that I would find a way to hold on to my knowledge.
Then I grew up and became a teacher and a psychologist. I got married and had children. At work, as a psychologist, I listen to a lot of people’s problems - children and grown-ups. I always try to help them.
One of the things I do is to point out to them what is right with them, rather than what is wrong. Another thing I do is to teach them how to have more fun. I also help them to remember their own wisdom and the truths that they already know in their hearts.
I decided to find a way to combine what I already knew as a girl with the knowledge I now have as a psychologist. I had to find a fun way to do this that would really help girls and mothers recognize that what we know growing up is just as important as what we learn later in life.
One day, the "girl" just appeared. She knew what to say and how to say it. She did a much better job of sharing the truth than I ever could have imagined. So I just let her go for it.
This book is her account of the truth. I hope you enjoy it. Remember your promises to yourself when you grow up and don’t forget to listen to your kids someday.
Bye, I better get out of the way and let the girl begin ...

Praise for the Book
"I felt the author did a superb job at reaching out to young girls and touching upon many sensitive subjects that many tweens would be embarrassed to talk about. Growing up is never easy, for any age girl or boy. The Truth: Diary of a Gusty Tween reads as kind of a tool or helping hand if you will for all young girl growing up and who often feel clueless. I feel all Mothers should definitely read this book with or to their daughter(s). I also really loved the small illustrations among the pages. It really helps the book read more like a tween wrote it rather than an adult. Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein writes so simplistically and child-like which for me really gives the book the sensation of actually being written from a tweens POV. Which of course is the point. ;) Every young girl everywhere should pick up a copy of this book! Beg your parents if you have too. hehe ;) Even as an adult I totally enjoyed reading it!" ~ Becky @ Bittersweet Enchantment
"The incredible in-depth approach that Barbara Becker Holstein has for understanding and relating to 'Tweens' is simply incredible! This book is a MUST read if you are the parent of 'that age' … so that your child can relate and apply the skills that her book shows! Each chapter approaches a new emotional journey that is and has been inevitable in ALL of our lives … and Dr. Becker Holstein shows the reader how to capture and learn the correct next steps. She seems as if she has stepped into their shoes … and simply and powerfully shows them how to 'take the correct next steps'. Every book she writes is a wonderful journey of discovering yourself and learning that there are so many more chapters awaiting us … at any stage in life. Please keep writing Barbara … you are a valuable tool for any generation and a very talented professional!" ~ Eileen Stong
"The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween, by Dr. Barbara Holstein is a bittersweet adventure through the ups and downs of a young girl's tween years. Her diary reflects the everyday struggles that we all can identify with when we were that age. It's universal themes and ageless messages will appeal to young girls today as well as to women of all ages! I enjoyed reading this expanded version of the original book, The Truth, I'm a girl, I'm smart and I know everything, as it gave me a deeper and even more poignant look at how many of us feel and have felt as we struggled to grow up. I'll giving my daughter, age 11, the expanded version to read now and when she is done I'm hoping we will have some good discussions around many of the topics brought up in the book." ~ Diane Beloncik

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
A young girl shares her secret diary, in which she reveals the "truth" about her life from ages 11 to 13. She tells us about her family, her best friend Angela, the new boy Paul who she has a crush on, her inability to communicate with her mother, her annoying six-year-old brother, getting picked last for the kickball team, and even a few "gross" personal secrets.
As you can see, this book covers a diverse range of topics. It will open up the lines of discussion for parents to talk to their tween girls about getting their first bra, having a crush on a boy, swearing, parents fighting, younger siblings, mean girls, independence, wearing makeup, self-esteem, fighting with their best friend, animal cruelty, the Holocaust, school grades, keeping healthy, menstruation, the fear of growing up, death, suicide, moving home, coping with homework, taking drugs, and body image.
I believe this is an updated version of the book originally published in 2007. While there are many modern references (e.g., computers, Facebook, cell phones, email), there is also reference to a phone with a dial (not buttons) and having to retype a three-page paper (not necessary if you're using a computer). The books the girl reads are also really old (e.g., Nancy Drew, Little House on the Prairie, Black Beauty) and, even though this is somewhat explained later in the book, it still feels like this is more what the author herself would have read as a child.
I encountered a few other problems: the diary entries are a bit too far apart to be real (e.g., the girl skips over Christmas two years in a row); the girl's friends should have come over on July 17 when she was going to teach them how to bake brownies, but this didn't happen until August 7); there are unanswered questions, such as how her fight with Angela is resolved; the girl only mentions her new friend Dawn a few weeks after they first meet; from the beginning of the diary to December 5, each entry ends with a "truth", then there is no mention of the "truth" until June 30 the next year.
As an adult I found the book to be a bit contrived and preachy, but it is probably well-suited to the 10 to 13 young adult target audience. It brings back memories of first love and the intense emotions of friendship and wanting to fit in. The story is followed by discussion questions for kids.

From the Author
I have been a positive psychologist in private practice for the past thirty years. In the course of working with my clients, I originated the idea of The Enchanted Self® a positive psychology therapy where I teach people how to recognize and utilize their strengths, talents, skills and even lost potential. I have developed a number of methods, including using our memories to rediscover what is right about ourselves and our lives, rather than what went wrong, helping people to overcome adversity, experience positive emotions and live the good life!
Since developing this concept, I've been able to use many tools to bring the Enchanted Self to everyone, particularly women and girls. I've written many books, starting with The Enchanted Self, A Positive Therapy, and then Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU! My books for girls are very popular, as they are great fictional reads and also help deal with many of the questions that trouble kids as they move into the tween and teen years. The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween and Secrets, Diary of a Gutsy Teen are the first two books in this series.
I really love to teach and educate about happiness and how to benefit from positive psychology in ways that let us lead lives of meaning and happiness. You can find me all over the place on the web.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon or B&N gift card.