Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Review of A Guy's Guide to Life by Jason Boyett

Book Description:

What does society want of teen guys? To be independent, tough, and macho? To be a sensitive, caring metrosexual? To excel in school and sports and business? The challenges are many, and we haven't even mentioned the most important-and most frightening-topic of conversation: girls. The road to manhood is a perilous one.

Guys need a guidebook, one that asks and answers the questions they're reluctant to discuss. They need a book that addresses the myths of manhood with a straightforward approach teenage guys will appreciate and absorb. Author Jason Boyett understands what many fail to realize—that somewhere between the awkwardness and braggadocio, the goofiness and the developing body, there is a real person struggling to make his mark on the world.

My Thoughts:

A Guy’s Guide to Life is very soft and written as more of a “be your friend” than a “you’ll thank me later” book.  As I read the book, I kept picturing the parent who wants to be “cool” with his child’s friends so he talks the lingo, is more lenient, and brushes off the real issues.  While this book is a good basic boy-to-man book, it fails to provide strong Biblical guidance that is so needed by men to young men.  The author opts for coolness as opposed to taking the genuine opportunity to give straight from the Bible, how to deal with life, instruction.  Boyett had the audience and perfect opportunity to make the Bible relevant and “cool” to a young man and passed on it. 
As a youth leader, I would not recommend this to a student but I would suggest a parent pick it up and read first before encouraging their teen son to read it.  I will not dismiss the book entirely as the chapter on Faith is good as well as the several pointers on volunteering, serving, and loving, etc.  Additionally, Boyett covers respecting parents, others, and treating girls appropriately.  Therefore, while Boyett does not offer the sound Biblical references I was hoping for, he does give some good advice.  Boyett sometimes resorts to vulgar or crude language and dismisses values to make points that could have easily been made in good taste.  Another problem with A Guy’s Guide to Life is that it opens the door to questions or thoughts that a teenager may not have had until reading an excerpt from the book.  My fear would be a kid with a good head on his shoulders looking into something because he read it in a book recommended by a youth leader or pastor who did not take the time to read the book first himself.  Perhaps I am just old, or old fashioned, but after working with youth for over fifteen years I have not seen many that would take this book seriously. 
If I had to recommend a reader, I would say a parent who needs some ideas on breaching tough subject matter with their son or who isn’t really a “talker.”  He could steal some humor or ideas from Boyett to start the conversation rolling.  I will give Boyett credit for covering practical topics such as shaving, tying a tie, how to dress, respect, and so on.  Not a bad book, but could have been a lot better.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”