Book Review: Frog or Prince?: The Smart Girl’s Guide to Boyfriends

March 24th, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I was sent a book about adolescent dating entitled Frog or Prince?: The Smart Girl’s Guide to Boyfriends, by a Canadian author, Kaycee Jane.  I postponed reading it, thinking that there are too many dating books already, although not enough for teenagers. This and the book’s engaging cover and fairytale title, Frog or Prince, finally encouraged my reading.

This book reads quickly. The vignettes and stories sound like the lives of the teenagers and young adults that I work with. Even more than the reality-based nature of the stories is the smart advice that Kaycee Jane offers. She uses the metaphor of the frog or prince for dating partners for girls. She shows girls how to set standards for dating partners using the metaphor of a bar that girls set which defines minimum standards and basic needs. This is an important process for young women to engage in, encouraging them to think about what they desire and need.

Kaycee Jane also does an excellent and highly humorous job of characterizing frogs and princes. You know you are dating a frog when “you have a boyfriend who is not listening to you” and “you start liking yourself less.” Princes, on the other hand, are respectful, meet important needs of the girls they are dating, and are able to engage in “heart to heart conversations.” Good ideas!

Many girls and women that I work with have trouble ending relationships. They hang onto boys and men that are unavailable active players and even emotionally or physically abusive for too long. Some are never able to leave. If this happens, therapy and far-sighted friends and family are needed, but a book like this is an excellent companion.

Kaycee also thinks carefully about why so many girls stay in relationships that are unhealthy for them, accurately reflecting cultural values that encourage girls to value relationships more than themselves.

This book also does not have scheming strategies or hurtful perceptions of men. Kaycee’s princes and frogs fit all descriptions of boys and men and portray them realistically. Although this book has a fairytale title, a fairy tale it is not. I strongly encourage girls, women, and yes, boys and men, to take a look.