Start Talking: A Girls’ Guide for You and Your Mom about Health, Sex or Whatever by Mary Jo Rapini & Janine Sherman

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Start TalkingStars: ****1/2
Bayou Publishing November 2008
ISBN: 978-1-886298-31-6
200 pages
Book One of the Talk at the Table Series
Ages 10 and up
Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom about Health, Sex or Whatever [an inside look at the details even she doesn’t know] is a guide for a teen or preteen girl and her mom to read together and discuss together. The following is from the Press Release:

“To help girls – and their moms, psychotherapist Mary Jo Rapini (of TLC’s new series Big Medicine) and OB/GYN Nurse Practitioner Janine J. Sherman have assembled more than 113 questions girls (and their moms) routinely ask – or should be asking – about topics ranging from periods and sex to self esteem and dating. In Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom about Health, Sex or Whatever, Rapini and Sherman share succinct yet lively answers, sample conversations, and real life stories that will help open the door to better mother/daughter communication.” – Press Release from KSB Promotions

I was quite impressed with this book. For each subject, the authors talk to both the daughters and the mothers and encourages each to read the other’s section too. One quick note that is very important: Although this book says it’s for mothers, it works just as well for whoever the main women may be in a family. If a girl is being raised by a Grandmother or Aunt or Foster Mom, it doesn’t matter, this book is still right for that duo.
The book covers sensitive subjects such as periods, sex, birth control, dating, rape, how our body works, STDs, having “sacro” relationships, following your passions
With each section, you will find cover information, then Daughter Questions (questions from real daughters with real answers), then Mom Questions (ditto), then Table Talk (an example of how a conversation might go) and then discussion questions (questions to help you get the conversation going.) All throughout this are real life stories and illustrations as needed.
The authors talk as one. What I mean is that they don’t identify who specifically is talking throughout the book. At first I didn’t think this was a good idea but now I do. You don’t want to be thinking about how this information came from a nurse and this came from a sex therapist. You just want to focus on what the information is. Both authors know what they are talking about and together, they make an excellent duo.
The sample conversations are really good, for the most part, even if the answers don’t come out exactly like the book shows, you will know where to go from there. That’s why the book is called Start Talking. It’s designed to “set the table” and get you to “start talking” with your daughter/mother about these serious issues. There were a few times though that I thought the mom or daughter in the book was taking things way too easily.

“This book has made me stronger. It gave me back my mom, because it made her stronger, too.” – Elen Eisner, High School Student

That quote was from some early praise for the book. I think the authors stumbled upon this idea at a great time. In the 21st century, we are becoming more accustomed to discussing what used to be sensitive matters. However we seem to still have trouble talking about these issues with our family, those who are closest to us. We can joke about sex and periods with our friends but when it comes time to talk seriously about them with our family, forget it.
For now I’d like to leave you with the link for the book:
About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.