CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 1 . . . . September 3, 2004
Kim Martyn has been a sexual health educator for almost twenty years, in both school and community settings, as well as the co-owner of an informational website, www.sexscape.org .
She is frank and open, with an approach that she describes as both "sex-friendly and gay-positive." (p. 14) Martyn is well aware that there is plenty of information available about the mechanics of sexual activity, but many Canadian teens are misinformed about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD's). And she certainly believes that the key to sexual health is information, presented in a fashion that is easy to find and easy to read.
In eight chapters of this short 216 page book, she covers issues such as readiness for sexual activity (and provides support for those who are not ready, for whatever reason), situations where sexual activity was not a matter of choice (rape, abuse, pressure), the "how-to's" of sex, protection against pregnancy and STD's, information about STD's, FAQ's about first-time sex, the concerns parents and other adults have, and finally, a current resource list of telephone hot-lines, books, videos, and websites which provide valid and reliable information about sexuality and sexual health.
Martyn is truly respectful of her readership and has a real gift for using both candor and humour in discussing subjects that can be either embarrassing or disturbing (or both!). She also provides some very useful direction to parents who often find it difficult to initiate and then to continue, "the talk." Communication is crucial, and this book uses a variety of means to get the message across: a clear, reader-friendly text, question balloons, charts, graphs, diagrams, and cartoons are all successful in conveying the message that informed choice is the sexually healthy choice. My one small quibble about the book is that it's very contemporary use of graphics and cartoons might "date" the look of the book. However, by that time, it will probably go through a few replacements.
The frankness of All the Way: Sex for the First Time will make it a hard book to keep on a school library bookshelf, and anyone acquiring it had better be certain that they read it from cover to cover before making it available to their general readership. Some people may not be happy with the content or, at times, the frank language. At the same time, that's what makes this book a great resource for teen readers, guidance counselors, and parents. Worth acquiring!
Joanne Peters is a teacher-librarian at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.