Title: Redefining Beautiful
Author: Jenna Lucado
Format: Paperback, 221 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Inc
Publish Date: Sep 2009
Price: $8.50 (Wal-Mart)
I received this book a while back and I expected the theme to be something like “Christians shouldn’t think of beauty the way the world does, we should be modest and less concerned about appearances.” While this is true, I was pleasantly surprised that Miss Lucado went further than this. When she talks about “redefining beautiful” she really wants girls to think about what really makes a girl beautiful – what’s on the inside.
She calls these things on the inside, which make girls beautiful “Life Accessories,” such as “Security – trusting that no matter what, we have a God who loves us” and “Peace – in believing God is in control.” These life accessories are what make us attractive to others no matter what kind of clothes we wear.
The most important theme of her book is that the foundational beauty secret is a father’s love, both earthly and heavenly. A girl with an earthly father who shows his daughter love, spends time with her, and teaches her to love God will be infinitely more likely to be filled with these life accessories. But even a great earthly father isn’t perfect, and ultimately we all must look to our heavenly father as the source of our inner beauty. Miss Lucado also points out that this is even more important for girls whose dads are either non-existent or are abusive.
She also touches on boys, friends, authority figures, and modesty. My daughter and I both appreciated her approach to the modesty issue. It’s easy for her and I to talk about what is appropriate and what is not, with her father being a pastor and all, but the author encourages her reader to think of two things when dressing: would God approve and will it tempt boys to think about things they shouldn’t. She is also quite emphatic about letting boys take the lead in the relationships – they should do the approaching, the asking out, and discourages girls from flirting.
I think this book would be best used as a discussion tool between a mother and her daughter. There are several instances where the author asks her readers to make lists and to write certain things down. I think most girls wouldn’t do this unless forced to, but I think an even better idea would be to use these as discussion points with your daughter. This would also give home schooling moms like me a chance to explain what she means when she talks about throwing on clothes and rushing out the door to first period.
The biggest drawback to the book is that while the truths are simple, they aren’t delved into deeply. For instance, she does a good job of pointing out that we are valuable to God, called his children, etc. However, though she is evidently writing to believers, she fails to develop this idea of our identity in Christ to a non-believer. Someone who doesn’t believe in Jesus as their personal savior may not be as receptive to the ideas in this book.
If you have a daughter that is struggling with insecurities about her looks and who she is, this could be used as a starting point of some good discussions. Just be prepared to delve deeper into some areas the author glosses over.