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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Please, No Zits by Anne Bradshaw

Want a reminder that we are a world wide church with youth that struggle, no matter where they live? Then pick up Please, No Zits by Anne Bradshaw it covers the problems of the average teenager and those that are down right scary.

Okay. For me personally, the name and cover aren’t really to my taste but I’m not that young anymore, thank goodness. I asked one of my own teenage girls what she thought of it and she reported that the cover was too busy for her and didn’t really tell her what to expect from the book. She said it was a little too random with lots of stuff on it that didn’t say a whole lot (uh, sounds like a teenager to me). The cover does actually pertain to the content, but because it’s pulled from a variety of the stories, it’s hard to interpret what it all means. (Her words, sophisticated by mom.) The title helped and caught her interest more.

Now on to the real meat of the book.

I have to admit, I had fun with the fact that it seemed everybody had a lounge. . . I’ve always wanted a lounge. It just sounds so relaxing and non-cluttered. Too bad Please, No Zits didn’t have instructions on how to get one.

On the serious side: I especially enjoyed “You’ll Never Get a Banana Tree” for is simple, sweet message of the good on young man can do, just because he is willing to talk about the gospel even when it seems uncomfortable.

I also recommend “Rock Bottom in a Jail Cell” for reading by the parents of any child suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction. It offers some realistic insight and some hope-stirring options such as Wings of Glory.

In its entirety this book of short stories, the majority of which are set in England, is uplifting in a
down-to-earth way. I know it may be hard to get a teenager to pick up any book that appears to have a message, so here are a few suggestions for helping them get the most out of Please, No Zits.

Make sure they realize it’s a book of short stories. Meaning: they can open it anywhere, read a chapter and be done.

Make it bathroom reading literature.

Use it as a series of family home evening lessons.

Give it to those who would love to travel to England themselves.

Suggest it as a reference for their next youth talk.

Ask them to read it to a younger sibling at bedtime or to the family at mealtime.

Offer it as an alternative to a hated chore.

In short, any way you can get them to pick it up and read something inside will probably get them hooked. There are no guarantees with teenagers though.

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