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Book review: For Young Men Only

For Young Men Only coverNext up in the blog book review series, courtesy of Mulnomah Publishing: For Young Men Only: A Guy’s Guide to the Alien Gender, by Jeff Feldhahn and Eric Rice. (Usual standard disclaimer: Mulnomah sent me a free copy, I agreed to review it.)

Apparently For Young Men Only (we’ll just call it FYMO for the rest of this review) is the fourth book in the For… …Only series; the authors have already written For Men Only, For Women Only, and For Young Women Only. Each book professes to unlock the mysteries of the opposite gender to the target audience. FYMO, then is targeted at teenage boys, I’d say probably in the Junior High to High School age range. In chapter one, the authors lay out the purpose for the book:

…we want to help teen guys understand, talk to, listen to, get to know, learn from, care for, enjoy…maybe even impress a girl. Sure, it’s not quite as lofty a goal is stopping terrorism or bringing back the glaciers. But it’s something smart guys care about – and smart girls too. Understanding how girls think can make a huge difference in your happiness now and in the future. even better, a crash course in Girl 101 can put you way ahead of most other guys, who will spend the rest of their lives being totally confused.

In the book you’re holding, enlightment starts with you. You bring your legendary genius. We bring our shocking data. Pretty soon you can get inside her head.

The remaining chapters of this short (150 5″x7″ pages) book are filled with topics like these: “Why ordinary guys have a real chance with great girls”; “A code breaker’s guide to baffling female behavior”; “Why girls go from ‘love’ to ‘get lost’ so fast – and how to keep from getting crushed”; “How to talk and listen to a girl without looking like an idiot”, and, last but not least, “The truth about girls, guys, and sex”. Frankly, I’m a bit too far past high school to remember if this stuff would’ve been helpful or not, but it’s all reasonable advice. Be yourself. Listen. Be sensitive. Don’t have sex before marriage. Let her see the “real” you.

Where I run into difficulty with FYMO is in figuring out who I’d recommend it to. It’s purposefully not a “christian” book. No scripture is referenced. All the arguments driving the “what to do” and “what not to do” are based on surveys of what girls like and want, and on lots of basic psychology. It feels a lot like what you might read in a normal magazine targeted toward highschoolers. Which is fine, as far as it goes. But if I ever have a son, by the time he’s old enough to be reading this book, he should be thinking over these things with some spiritual depth that is nowhere to be found in this book.

My other big difficulty with FYMO is that the authors assume, and appear to view as perfectly fine, a fairly broad range of physical intimacy among their teenage audience. Call me out of touch with modern times, but I don’t want my 9th grader who is reading this book to assume that having a series of dating relationships in high school in which he is snuggling, kissing, and “making out” with girls is the right thing to do. As a Christian father, I would assume (and expect) a higher standard.

I can imagine that teenage boys could learn a thing or two from this book if they were willing to sit down and read it. And what they would learn would be helpful, as far as it goes. My hope, though, is that Christian parents would provide enough training and guidance to their sons that the sons would be able to pick out the helpful insights while recognizing that the authors’ worldview is some distance from what it should be.

[For Young Men Only can be purchased at Amazon.com. Find out more about the book at foryoungmenonly.com.]

One Comment

  1. Wow, I just realized that a member of my small group is the co-author of this book. I never thought this Eric Rice was the Eric Rice I know!

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