Today I’m reviewing a new book, ‘Genuine: Becoming A Real Teenager’ by C.B. Martin*
This wonderful book for teenagers is based on the 1965 ‘Be a Real Teen’ by Warren W. Wiersbe, but has been extended and reworked to be read by a 21st century teen. The book is a series of character-studies of various teenagers who appear in the Bible, (Joseph, David, Daniel, Mary, Timothy, and Jesus) and unpacks the way they lived and the example that they set.
As as Christian youth, and then a Christian youth worker, I experienced a number of different ‘teen books’, and most of them were not great. They tended to consist of legalism, disguised in embarrassing ‘youf-speak’ (this is what happens when youth workers attempt to get ‘down with the kids’ by using language which they consider to be oh so à la mode, but which usually ends up being tragically out-of-date).
Thankfully, this is not what happens in ‘Genuine’ – no legalism, and some entirely sensible, engaging, and infinitely readable prose.
The target audience is probably those around the 16-18 mark, but you could certainly give it to those a wee bit younger, or those a wee bit older (perfectly good for some of those students I hang around with sometimes, for instance). It’s also short (81 pages), and very easy to read, so great for those who aren’t big readers, or those short on time, or attention span.
As each character-study is presented we’re given a summary of their story and the particular challenges they faced; an explanation of the way that we might face similar challenges in our own lives, and then a brief list of principles to consider as we attempt to be transformed by the Holy Spirit, rather than being conformed to the world. Each chapter ends with a section entitled, ‘Make it Real’, with questions to answer, ideas to consider, and things to pray about – the point of this book is not just to tell nice stories, but to encourage change.
Ultimately though, my favourite thing about Genuine is this: although we are given a number of examples in the case-studies, the book is not telling us to ‘Be like David’ or ‘Be like Mary’.
“They were real people with real struggles, but because God was at work in their lives they have lots to teach us. Most of all, because God was at work in them, they point us to Jesus.”
I loved the character studies because that pointing to Jesus really, clearly comes across, and that is always a good thing.
So, basically, I loved it, and I’d definitely recommend that you buy it – for a teenager that you know, or a student you know, or you, you know? It’s published by 10Publishing, and so available from their shop, or you can visit here, and ask nicely, and they might be able to get it for you too.
*As a matter of disclosure I should tell you that I happen to know C.B. Martin, consider her to one of my very lovely friends, and in fact, I received a free copy of the book reviewed. However, I hope that you, dear reader, know me to be a rather trustworthy person, and so will believe the good review anyway!
In summary: reviewing stuff.