Teenage girls face many challenges in today's society. Aly Hawkins tries to ease those burdens and help girls build their self-esteem in Soul Sister Shine. She divides the book into two sections: Creative Me and Beautiful Me. Six chapters, such as friendliness, fashion, and fruitfulness, fill out each section. She stresses each girl's being created in God's image and living out that image.
Pages have lots of blank space for the reader to write or draw their responses to the questions that Hawkins asks. She leaves no large sections of type. She includes tips for group leaders in the back. Her language is hip and vivacious as she directly addresses the reader. She refers the girls to some other works online and in books.
Especially helpful is her encouragement for girls to recognize the value of their talents rather than seeing only their defects, her open discussion of eating disorders and self-mutilation, and her prodding of girls who have faced painful experiences to talk to others about what they have gone through.
Though written in an updated Bible study format for groups or personal study, some blanket statements in the book are troublesome. She writes: "All the things (passions) you have listed in the space provided are things God loves about you! He is passionate about your passions..." (17) Maybe. Maybe not. God is not a big sugar daddy in the sky or a benevolent grandfather who smiles at our indiscretions. God may be just fine with our stamp collecting or horseback riding, but will He smile on our topless dancing or burning down laboratories to free lab animals? Are we to conform to God's standards or He to ours?
In another chapter Hawkins writes: "Envy does two things that would make God cranky, if He were the type to get cranky (which He totally isn't)." (78) Though her major point on envy is good, her lesson on God's nature falls short. He describes Himself as a jealous God, a holy God, and shows Himself to be short on patience with sin at times. Achan might have considered God rather cranky when God had the earth swallow him, his whole family and all of his belongings. Hawkins overlooks God's holiness and the issue of sin as sin.
At times the author comes across as glib. Her dealing with style gives the girls few principles to go on other than what kind of image they want to project, and not being judgmental about other people's styles. Modesty doesn't even rate a mention.
Aly Hawkins is the daughter of two pastors and studied music at Azusa Pacific University. Her husband Bryan Ashmore is a writer also and musician.
This book is part of the Soul Sister and Soul Survivor series. Hawkins writes in a style that would be popular with many young women, but because she gives only part of the picture of how God deals with us, I'm not sure how helpful her book would be to most young women. -- Debbie W. Wilson, Christian Book Previews.com
When you look at those “perfect” models in magazines and the toned bodies of celebrity actresses, do you feel envious, and maybe even a little depressed, because you think you can never measure up to our society’s supermodel standards? Do you obsess about your weight, hair, makeup and clothes and never really feel good about yourself? Well, God wants you to know something: You’re beautiful! Do you know why? Because He created you that way!
If you’re struggling with low self-esteem and insecurities about your appearance, Shine will help you understand that you’ve been imprinted with God’s creative image and that you are truly unique and beautiful. You’ve been chosen by God to reflect a part of Himself that no one else can. God wants every area of your life to burst with beauty for His glory!
Shine is an interactive reading experience that takes you on a journey of personal discovery. It will help you overcome feelings of inferiority and help you embrace your unique God-given beauty and worth. Get ready to shine! When you look at those “perfect” models in magazines and the toned bodies of celebrity actresses, do you feel envious, and maybe even a little depressed, because you think you can never measure up to our society’s supermodel standards? Do you obsess about your weight, hair, makeup and clothes and never really feel good about yourself? Well, God wants you to know something: You’re beautiful! Do you know why? Because He created you that way!