Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Diary of a Teenage Girl by Melody Carlson

Caitlin has turned sixteen. It's January 1 and Caitlin decides to finally write in that diary she's had for so long. (The entire book consists of diary entries.)
We read about Beanie, Caitlin's quirky, but only friend. Then Caitlin starts to be noticed by the “in” group of girls, and she is quick to ignore her good old friend. Caitlin eventually notices that she hasn't seen Beanie lately, not even at youth group, but the lure of the popular girls is too great to worry about Beanie. She doesn't even stand up for Beanie when the “in” girls make fun of her.
We read of Caitlin's frustration when her dad won't let her date until she's eighteen, and then her mom lobbying in her favor. She has boy troubles, going to a dance with one when she really would prefer another.
When Caitlin is waiting for her dad at his office one day, she finds evidence that seems to indicate he is having an affair. This hurts Caitlin but at the same time seems to give her the desire to have more freedom in dating. When handsome Josh breaks up with one of the “in” girls and asks her out, Caitlin is too excited to see the danger that lurks beneath his outgoing personality.
Caitlin's family attends a church and she goes to the youth group but her commitment to Christ is lacking. When there is a shooting at the nearby high school and her youth leader is killed, she struggles with God's role in it all.
As we continue to read through Caitlin's diary, we experience her near sexual disaster with Josh and her commitment to abstinence. When Beanie realizes she is pregnant , with are with Caitlin in support.

I had to chuckle as I read through this book. It's been nearly five decades since I've been a teenager but I felt like I was right back there. Flying high one moment, the worst day of her life the next.
Much of this book deals with the sexual pressure teens feel from their peers. Be aware that there are some very realistic thoughts on the subject. Caitlin did not start out as a committed Christian. Nor are many of her "Christian" friends. At first I thought Caitlin's behavior unrealistic, for a "Christian." However, I may be thinking of my own teen years. Today teens face issues that never even entered my mind. It is an encouragement to read that, though Caitlin struggles with so many desires and temptations, she make the right decisions in the end.

This is the first in Carlson's Diary of a Teenage Girl series and came out in 2000. There are now several in the series, following many characters introduced in this book. 
To see more in this series, go to http://melodycarlson.com/diary.shtml.  
Go to the Diary of a Teenage Girl blog to see current diary entries, follow Caitlin on Twitter, etc.: http://www.doatg.com/
Go to Melody's website: http://melodycarlson.com/index.shtml

Melody Carlson and her husband of 29 years live in a cabin near the Cascade Mountains in Oregon. Melody published her first book in 1995 and now has written over 200.

Multnomah (WaterBrook), 248 pages.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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