The book is designed to ‘strengthen mother/teenage daughter relationships.’ Roy carried out research with women of all ages and backgrounds. Furthermore, when the manuscript was ready, he asked some mothers with daughters aged between 15 and 25, to read it. They did, and so also did their daughters. Roy states: “What happened was extraordinary and unpredicted. All of those mothers told me it led to the most meaningful and intimate conversations they’d ever had with their daughters.”
Roy quite rightly points out that at that age, ie, 15 to 24 most people do not listen to their parents or even if they do, give no credence to the idea that they might actually know what they are talking about. That was certainly my experience and that of my friends.
The purpose of this and its companion piece Dear Son (previously reviewed in the magazine by Phil Birch) is to encourage meaningful dialogue between parents and their teenagers.
The front cover of this book says it all: what I wish I’d known at your age. The topics covered are wide-ranging covering relationships, looking after yourself physically and mentally, work and taking responsibility for yourself, amongst others.
Much of this book is useful in its common sense approach to the topics covered, the ones in particular that you would expect to see here. However for me, what sets this book apart is for one, the chapter on ‘dangerous men’. I have friends and family who have been involved with dangerous men. Often it has happened on a serial basis, where they repeat the pattern. I have heard it said of them that they are ‘useless at picking their men’. I know of no-one in my circle who ever had a conversation with parents or elders about ‘dangerous men’, or with each other for that matter. Now we all understand either directly or through close friends and family what it means and how useful for our younger selves, some information would have been. Secondly, I appreciated the sections on decision-making and risk and responsibility. Looking back I can see where my parents were encouraging me to be more independent and to make my own decisions but there was no explanation. It just started to happen and it felt a bit odd and unsettling, without any context.
That is the strength of this book, for me it puts in context the issues that young people have to deal with, so that they have important background information. From being very young, I loved books and read a series by Susan Coolidge called ‘What Katy Did’. I remember very vividly Katy being told in one of the books, that she should not use a swing; so she did, of course, because she was feisty and defiant and as a result she was badly injured. What she had not been told was that the swing was dangerous; I was furious at what I felt was the injustice of it. Why had her aunt not told her, Katy was old enough to understand?
So much of life felt like that when I was growing up: so many things I should not do, sometimes with good reason but not always with explanation. I know that we all believe, when we are young, that we are invincible and that bad things won’t happen to us, as Roy rightly points out. I still maintain however that having the information is formative too, in how we respond.
So Roy has provided that information for us. I have reviewed books by Roy before and he has not let me down in how he has done it. The book as I said before, is full of common sense and it is sensitively written. It is not patronising and it is respectful of young and old.
The book can be bought ahead of publication date from www.AskRoy.co.uk
Roy will not be making the book available on Amazon as he has joined the Boycott Amazon campaign. Roy says: “Amazon have become too large and, in my view, they now mis-use their power. Publishing colleagues tell me I am nuts. On principle, I refuse to feed this ‘monster’ with my books. I sleep at night. And pay my taxes.”
A former BBC reporter and news anchorman in London, Roy is the author of numerous relationship books. He is known as ‘The Sensible Uncle’ in the media and for his work as a professional conference moderator for many of the world’s largest and most successful organisations. He is a visiting lecturer at Henley, one the UK’s leading business schools.
www.RoySpeaks.com for more information
Reviewed by Anne Casey