By: Christine Diggs
Got It Goin' On II
reviewed by Christine Diggs, Virginia State University
Got It Goin' OnII: Power Tools for Girls, by Janice Ferebee, MSW, 2000, Washington, DC, $19.95. Available from Got It Goin' On, 1221 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Ste. 609, Washington, DC 20005-5315, or www.janiceferebee.com.
I enjoyed this powerful manual on several different levels.
First, it exudes so much positive energy through creative motivational mantras throughout. The pages are not traditionally organized; yet, they seem to attract the reader-participant' undivided attention and desire to be an active rather than passive onlooker.
Second, its message uniquely captures and affirms the “good” girl who is constantly bombarded into giving up her morals and values to being “part of the crowd.” At the same time, it provides comfort and specific guidelines for those who have strayed into the “cesspools of the world” to recover with dignity.
Third, books have been written on the merits of having good self esteem and self worth, but this book constantly identifies and reminds the reader that the best existence is “being comfortable in my own skin, regardless of shape, size, color.” Being comfortable with oneself, and keeping that unique self in the best of condition (mentally, spiritually, physically), assures a standard of excellence at any given time.
Fourth, the use of angels, specifically the guardian angels of faith, love, and hope, being humanized, is absolutely fantastic. Females of all ages, when dealing with inner conflicts, can connect and be instantly soothed when they embrace the healing powers of their guardian angels. It is always comforting to know that regardless of life' circumstance or feelings one might have, you’ll never, ever have to deal with it by yourself. Also for young girls, the peer pressure is to conform; to know that the guardian angels have experienced similar peer pressure and have overcome and are now willing to step into one' psyche as an added power source of “getting through” serves as a tremendous conduit toward excellence.
Fifth, the Adinkra symbols serve as an empowering agent to give life to “uplifting, motivation, character building” attributes.
Sixth, a constant sprinkling of testimony and tidbits of advice from teenagers validates and normalizes the experiences and feelings of the reader. It doesn’t stop there-the teenagers, in their own voice, encourage the reader to continue to be great within herself.
The handbook is organized into eight sections focusing on different aspects of achieving “standards of excellence.” There is, in addition, an introduction, and sections referencing such resources as hot line numbers, educational resources, references, and a reading list.
The author takes a unique perspective in first building the young girl' image by constantly reminding her that she is worthwhile, and that if there is someone to blame for the lack of being positive, it has to be attributed to “the spiritual void in the lives of adults.”
The explosive energy throughout the book certainly is demonstrated through the exercises, mantras, borders/shapes surrounding the comments, and the illustrations. There is no “dead” or “boring” area in the entire book. It speaks to energy, life, movement, diversity, and power.
Again, throughout the book, one feels as though one “deserves the very best.” The affirmations found on page 36 further illustrate and encourage the girl that “she deserves to take good care of herself,” and that “her body is a divine creation deserving to tender, loving care and attention.” Such a positive imagery could create wonders for the self image of girls of all ages. They will act upon such positive energy by not abusing their bodies and minds and not allowing anyone else to do damage to them.
The author is very creative in first engaging the reader to be “your own best friend” and goes into how to accomplish that task. She then moves into some of the challenging life forces that might try to cripple a girl' love for self. Specific tips for coping with life' challenges are given in a straight-forward manner. No efforts are made to minimize the stresses. The tips are also given in a no-nonsense manner, which gives the effect that “for every mess, there is hope for an effective cure.”
The author then retreats back and gives a spiritual massage (not message) and shares how to take care of the “soul.” The author uses teen vernacular “without drama” to get readers to understand what “pampering” really is-an inside job to make the soul smile.
The author moves on to focus on the realities of the world-drugs, AIDS, sexual misbehavior and its results, and other negative, risky behaviors. Again, the information is presented straightforward, no nonsense. The “how-to” information as to how not to get trapped into these negative behaviors is given in a sensitive, yet firm, manner.
The Mirror, Mirror on the Wall analogy is highly identifiable among women because of the Snow White and the wicked witch story. This mirror, however, emphasizes that self love, the greatest of them all, is being reflective of the mirror-the girl, herself. The 14-year-old in the “encouragement box” states “you don’t need anybody to tell you that you look good. You need to know that for a fact.”
The book is true to its word. It is the inspirational, personal development guide for girls, throughout their teenage years, pre-teens, and beyond. It also serves as a tool for women to recall their “growing up” years and take steps to patch up the tattered places.
Reviewed by Christine H. Diggs, Ph.D. LMSW, ACP, PR , Program Administrator, Institute of Leadership Development Honors Program, Virginia State University. Diggs was the Director of the Social Work Program from August 1996 to January 2001.
This review appears in THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER , Vol 8, No. 3, Summer 2001.