1001 Things Every Teen Should Know Before They Leave Home by Harry H. Harrison Jr.
Basic Idea: Lists of different principles, advice, and sometimes basic common sense that teenagers should know, helping them get along in the adult world.
Reliability of Information: 3½/5 Very Likely Reliable: Though I don’t know much about Mr. Harrison, I do know that the principles in his book are both biblical and make logical sense. They are basic guidelines that every teenager does need to know to function in the adult world, whether it is that stalking your ex-boyfriend is unhealthy or that complaining and gossiping at work are foolish.
Application: 5/5 Excellent Advice: Morally, this book is strongly recommended for every teenager. Whether its life principles or necessary life skills, this book has plenty of information that almost every teenager can use, all from a Christian perspective. Unlike most Christian self-help books though, there are no Bible verses or devotional messages, making it a good read even for people that aren’t Christians.
Readability: 4/5 Easy to Read: The reading is easy, but on a teenage level. With plainly stated information, the book still is able to keep up the humor and not get too harsh or overbearing in its presentation, making it perfect for teenagers.
Overall: 4½/5 Amazing: This is a must read for any teenager, Christian or not. Though like every book outside of the Bible, the reader might not agree with everything or find it perfect, it is a good book for preparing the teenager for the real world.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 3/5 Frequent Positive Sexual Content: The author says that couples need to talk about sex, and advises against dating people who are “having sex with the Western world.” It mentions that “sex produces babies.” It is mentioned that the “most men do not know how to properly use a condom.” The author says to not make “sexual jokes at work,” as it can result in a lawsuit. It mentions that having sex does not mean that they are necessarily loved by that person. It says “if they sleep around it will get around.” It advises against sleeping with employees, “posting compromising pictures of anyone,” and having sex when one has an STD. It is mentioned that provocative dress will get attention. It talks about how to find out if your neighbors are sex offenders. It jokes that people that talk rich “are now considered very sexy.” It advises not to have a bedroom without God in it and says that sex is sacred. The word “tush” is humorously used for descriptive purposes.
Violence: ½ /5 Slight mention: It mentions that one should not get in bar fights, and that in general, one should “walk away from a fight.”
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 1/5 Brief Misuse: The Lord’s name is taken in cain once. The author says teenagers need to learn to speak without using certain phrases, one taking the God’s name in vain. It advises several times against swearing.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: ½/5 Slight Description: It mentions that tanning can result in skin cancer, which results in scarring. It mentions that a person can get shingles from stress, as well briefly defines what it is. It mentions what diseases green tea can prevent. It mentions that bad air can kill a person. It says that Home Depot will teach a person “[h]ow to install a ceiling fan without doing bodily damage.” “Kiss of death” and “wars” are used for descriptive purposes.
Religious Issues: ½/5 Slight Mention: It says that if you use tarot cards, do not to tell anyone. “Haunt” is used for descriptive purposes once.
Magic: 0/5 None
Others: The song “Let’s Get Drunk” is mentioned, though not positively. Alcohol and beer and drinking, cigarettes, dancing, divorce, drugs, drunk driving, gambling, nightclubs, nose ring, partying, tattoos, speed (a drug), smoking, and getting high and/or drunk are all mentioned, but always negatively. Abortion is mentioned once and is strongly unrecommended. Some facts about birth control- such as negative and positive consequences as well as its difficulty of use- are mentioned. It advises not talking like a rapper. Marxism is negatively mentioned once. Bar tending is mentioned once. Rock stars are mentioned once. Being a chiropractor is listed as a recommended and high paying career.
Overall: 3/5 Teenager Appropriate: The mentions of condoms, birth control, and abortion cause me to advise Christian parents to wait until their children are about thirteen to fourteen years old until they let their child read it, which is fitting considering the books age range.