The Girl De-Construction Project
A funny, sassy and wise volume for British women and teens - so good it made me reassess my ideas about the validity of Christian literature aimed at women
The Girl De-Construction Project - wildness, wonder and being a woman
By Rachel Gardner
Hodder & Stoughton
Reviewer: Moira Kleissner
It is so good to read an up-to-date, no punches pulled, reality-driven book for Christian teens and women from a British rather than American perspective. This volume is funny, sassy, full of good advice and firmly centred in the 21st century. Any Christian book that quotes Emilie Sande, Simeon de Beauvoir, Anais Nin and Malala along with Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King is my kind of book.
I normally grit my teeth at books for “Christian women,” searching in vain for something relevant that would apply to me, or getting mad with the “trust Jesus and everything will work out” Christian philosophy, one finds in so many books aimed at women. I had no such problems with The Girl De-Construction Project – wildness, wonder and being a woman. Although from an evangelical perspective, it doesn’t hide the big questions facing us in society with sanctimonious advice. It is centred in reality with down to earth language.
I laughed out loud, smiled, grabbed paper hankies as I shed a few tears, tried not to shout out “brilliant,” held my breath at times, and thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It made me think and made me reassess my ideas about the validity of Christian literature aimed at women. This is not a book aimed at over 50s, although I think they would do well to read it. The contents will give older women an insight into the lives that girls and younger women experience today.
Rachel Gardner, wife of curate and youth specialist Jason and mother of an adoptive daughter, has held positions as founder of the Romance Academy, leader within Youthscape and is now President of the Girls' Brigade. She has been through traumatic difficulties herself, that weren’t miraculously resolved, which make this a book anchored in reality.
The main sections cover Body, Mind, Soul and Strength. There are stories from experience, stories of fun and hilarity, mad escapades, disaster, success, mind wrenching disappointment, all told in a conversational style. At the end of each chapter there is a “De-construct” section looking at the problems we have to face being women, leading to a “Re-construct section” providing reflective sections. Here there are no euphemisms, no over-spiritual twaddle, just plenty of good common sense advice on how to cope in 21st century, living as self-confident, powerful, individual Christian girls and women – with all our doubts and foibles.
This is not a lightweight book that you skim through in a couple of hours. Although written in a conversational modern style, it gets to grips with the some quite profound problems, we face as women today, within and without the church. A book that can be used when you sit quietly with a cup of tea or glass of wine and mull over your life as a woman – or give as a gift.
Moira Kleissner is a retired Primary Deputy Head, storyteller and minister’s wife