My interest piqued by the real-life story of a mom who followed her adolescent daughter around for the better part of a year, I accepted a review copy of Lauren's Kessler's My Teenage Werewolf: A Mother, A Daughter, a Journey Through the Thicket of Adolescence.
Even though I have boys, much of what Kessler wrote about her middle schooler daughter applies to my son of the same age. The book's premise is shocking at first- Kessler shadows her daughter (with permission, but still...) at school, online, in the wrestling ring and on the athletic field. It sounds horrifying! Like she's one of those overparenting, helicopter "smothers" who lack boundaries and is completely controlling. Only Kessler pulls it off for the most part.
The book starts out with information on adolescent development with a focus on brain growth (or lack thereof) and how it affect teen behavior. As you might recall, the emotional life of a teenage girl is quite a roller coaster ride. And I can see how it's even trickier to negotiate a second adolescence via a daughter than a son (though, believe me, it's still no picnic).
I found the early chapters informative and reassuring. Kind of like when a friend's toddler has blowout tantrum in front of you and you are relieved to know that it happens to other moms, too. Honestly, I wanted to hug Kessler at times, which is maybe why I trusted that her intentions were good, that she truly set out to be more Margaret Mead than Mommy Dearest.
True, at times she crossed the line between observer and participant, but I was on her side, so I forgave her. Plus, I know how hard it is to walk that line.
My Teenage Werewolf is at turns an interesting companion, an insightful friend and a fun read.
Edited to add: I received word that I've been cleared to give away three copies of this book. The first one goes to SoCal Mom who commented even before I offered up a book (and has a teen daughter).
The other two are up for grabs. To enter to win a copy of this hardcover book, leave a comment and make sure I can reach you via email. Enter by 2:00 PM CST on Friday, Sept. 10 and I will randomly choose winners and notify them by the same time on September 13.
Congrats to book winnders Daisy and Michelle!