One of the purposes of Truth, Dare, Double Dare, Promise or Repeat: On Finding the Meaning of “Like” from 1982, besides being a blast from the past, is to spark conversations about relationships and sexuality among teenagers and their parents.
I had this revelation about halfway through the writing process. Why was I writing it? Because relationships are hard, at any age, but especially when you don’t yet know yourself. And parents, when they talk about relationships and sex the right way, can help make sense of the confusion for a teenager.
These are not easy conversations for most teenagers and a lot of parents. When I was growing up, I eschewed such discussions with my mother (and never entertained the concept with my father—never!); most of what I learned came from my friends and from books and magazines. But when I became a stepmother to a 12-year-old boy, I somehow became his confidant (an unexpected gift for which I am forever grateful). I was determined to be a worthy recipient of his trust and confidences. The “right” way to talk to a teenager about the birds and the bees included three rules:
- Always use anatomically correct language (while pretending, if I had to, to be unembarrassed).
- Tell the truth.
- Incorporate messages of morality when appropriate but refrain from judgment unless someone was endangered (fortunately, this never happened).
These rules served me and my stepson well, and I want to help other parents experience such forthright, meaningful conversations with their children and parents. So I created a discussion guide at the end of my book. Optimally, it would be used in a book club of moms and teenage daughters, but short of that, it could inspire a conversation between a mom and a daughter (or possibly son).
Here are a couple of the questions posed:
- Monica’s first kiss occurred as the result of a dare, and she didn’t like it. What was your first kiss like?
- Monica spent a lot of time trying to impress boys. Did she spend enough time paying attention to her friends? Was she a good friend?
The beautiful part about book club questions in the back of a book is the opportunity for the author to get readers thinking about and digesting what they’ve just read. As a reader, I love them! I hope my readers do, too.
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I’m celebrating the countdown to the launch on March 28 of Truth, Dare, Double Dare, Promise or Repeat: On Finding the Meaning of “Like” in 1982 with a month-long blogging bonanza, which means I’ll be blogging here every day this month about my book, about memoirs in general and about the launch.