Book review: Life Talk for a Daughter

A copy of a book by Isabella Little (now Isabella Little-Gates, congratulations Isabella) came into our possession – “Life Talk for a Daughter”.  It’s this one:  You might think that this is a book to introduce your little girl to life, and avoid having “the talk”.  You might like to think again.

After reading a few chapters of this book, our little daughter of 11 said:

Can we burn it?

She’s just 11.  She was not making a fire at the time, and looking for more fuel – no, she was just reading the book, because her little brother hoped that it was a story and she would read it to him.  She said this after coming to the chapter about sex, and because she has read other books of better quality on this topic.

This contains the following “ideal” script for your daughter’s life (is this modeled on the author’s experience?):

  • Grow up wondering what’s up with your deadbeat dad.  Or maybe your dad is a wash-out.  Dads – who can understand them?
  • Let out the tiger of sexual experimentation from its cage some only when you think it might be fine.  Try not to get pregnant.
  • Indulge in whoring with a string of boys until you find the one (or catch a disease, or get pregnant, in which case, try to find help or something).
  • Alcohol and drugs happen.  But somehow they might not happen to you so very much.  Be good or something.
  • Get into a committed relationship with someone (maybe a man, or you might be a lesbian, see).  This is why you need to start early with the whoring.
  • Maybe get married.
  • Maybe go for a walk in the countryside to get away from it all.

And this is why, after reading just a few chapters of this book, our little daughter said:

Can we burn it?

Despite being very young, she knows that the ideal script for life is:

  • Grow up with your dad and your mom.  If your dad’s a deadbeat, tough – you have to honour your father and mother anyhow.
  • Get found by a man who is made of the better stuff (or a deadbeat like your dad).
  • Get married: if he’s going to keep you, he should tell the world and give you a ring – an expensive ring, preferably.
  • Kiss the man, and let loose the tiger of sexual expression on him
  • Take the man and your children for a walk in the countryside as a special treat, packing a picnic basket like your mom did.

This script is absent from this book.  The book says you should aim low, and be prepared to surrender your lowest moral standard (if it seems like the right time).

Hopefully the disclaimer I have inked on the cover will prevent damage before we send it to the paper-recycling people:

Life Talk for a Daughter
containing the very worst of worldly “wisdom”

Warning: errors within

We haven’t yet disposed of the book because we want to find out the answer to “what on earth were you thinking” from the chain of well-meaning people who passed it on to us (hopefully without reading it).

After the shock of this woman telling our little girl that she should freely prostitute herself to every and any nice boy (if it seems like a good idea) it was a big laugh to read the back cover: she is a successful this and that, an accomplished whatever, the mother of a daughter and … no, wait – there’s no “and”?  Something is missing.  Whatever could it be?

Update: I think I should update this some time, when I have the book in front of me again.  I’m going with publish early, publish often here.

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