CM . . .
. Volume XV Number 10. . . .January 9, 2009
More than year ago, I had the opportunity to co-review The Little Black Book for Girlz: A Book on Healthy Sexuality, also produced by St. Stephen's Community House. The Little Black Book for Girlz was certainly different from anything currently available for a teen readership, in terms of its frank language, emotion, and content. I wondered if something similar would be produced by a group of young men. Well, here it is:
And, like Sex for Guys (CM, Vol. XIV, No. 10), this is not a "public health pamphlet" either (not that there is anything inherently wrong with public health material.) The Little Black Book for Girlz began with relationships, perhaps because that is where most women situate sexuality issues. Well, the opening chapter of The Little Black Book for Guys is all about "The Love Machine" (a.k.a. the penis), and provides a thorough and complete discussion of that organ's inputs, output, and general functioning. Then, the book gets to "Making the Connection: Relationships," and the second chapter offers good advice, sensitivity, and genuine caring about and for partners of either gender. One of the strengths of this book is its inclusivity. I have looked at a number of resources for gay teens, and this one is noteworthy for its treatment of the many tough issues they face: dealing with the gender norms of high school culture, the challenge of finding partner, and, of course, the anxieties of "coming out," both to friends and to parents. The advice provided is practical, supportive, and non-judgmental. This book acknowledges that casual, recreational sex happens, but the writers of this book stress the value of relationships, as well as providing advice on making relationships work and on how to end them, when they don't. Birth control and STD prevention each have their own complete chapters, and in those pages, the reminder to "wear a condom" is a constant refrain. Really tough situations 末 pregnancy, hurtful break-ups, and a myriad of consequences stemming from irresponsible sexual behaviour 末 are addressed as well. As the guys who put this book together would say, "@#$% happens." There are no pretenses that there are any easy solutions, but plenty of insights are offered, and a Resource List (containing both validated web sites and toll-free help lines), cross-referenced with each chapter, and a Glossary provide additional materials for those needing it.
Joanne Peters is a teacher-librarian at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright ｩ the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.