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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Boys: An Illustrated Field Guide

Boys: An Illustrated Field Guide by Heather Ross was a gift to us from a friend who attended Comic Con last year, and it was just a positively lovely read.

This love letter to girls* (and boys!) everywhere, this book reviews all of the boys they may come across in their life, the ones they may fall in love with and ultimately have to leave behind. Each of these boys is a type, and in order to love them, there may be things you have to alter about yourself. The message is that it doesn't matter which type of boy you choose -- you must know yourself and be true to yourself first. (You may have to go through a few boys to learn this.)

I was quite taken by this book -- from the writing, to the message, and all the way through the illustrations. I read it to my little boy and he, too, was captivated by it. I loved the message that it's important to hold on to who you are, because being in love with a boy can easily take your sense of self and make you into something that you are not. I have known so many girls -- some women, even -- who have not had a personality of their own, and I have watched them morph from relationship to relationship, even into their 30's, without knowing who they genuinely were deep down. It's heartbreaking, so this book really spoke to me.

I feel like I have so many stories to count that I can't even being to separate them all. I watched one in particular spend her early 20's talking about how a college education was a waste of money and being an avowed atheist who never wanted children, and just a few years later be a devout church-going, college-attending, mother of three. The difference? You guessed it -- a new man. I didn't care who exactly she wanted to be -- that's her business and her life -- but it was sad watching her be a chameleon. (Before you say, "Maybe she changed!" I realize this is an option, but I know her better than you do. It was the man.) I have many stories like this, and I feel that they could have used the small push that this illustrated field guide gives just a little earlier in life.

I would pass this book down to so many young girls in my life so that they know there are so many boys you will come across -- smart boys, dangerous boys, adventurous boys, sweet boys -- and they are recognizable. It is important that you, too, be recognizable, albeit in a different way. Be you, be strong, and be yourself, whatever that looks like.

*I recognize here that I am referring to cisgendered heterosexual females. 

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