Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: March 2003
ISBN: 0-316-09058-1
Format Reviewed: Hardcover
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Genre: Nonfiction – Dating violence prevention
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Kristin Johnson
Reviewer Notes: Reviewer Kristin Johnson is the author of Butterfly Wings: A Love Story, Christmas Cookies Are For Giving.

Saving Beauty From the Beast
How To Protect Your Daughter From an Unhealthy Relationship
By Vicki Crompton and Ellen Zelda Kressner 

     The book has gotten plenty of media exposure: Vicki Crompton has appeared on Sally Jessy Raphael, The Montel Williams Show, CBS This Morning, Oprah and Inside Edition.

     In a 2003 “Montel Williams” show on dating violence, Vicki Crompton, co-author of Saving Beauty From The Beast, did more than plug her book, co-written with Ellen Zelda Kessner; she told the highly personal story of her daughter Jenny’s murder at the hands of boyfriend Mark Smith, and offered advice to young women and parents torn apart by callous teenage boys, adolescent angst, parent-daughter conflicts, and a culture that, as the book points out, romanticizes forbidden love, taking what you want at any cost, love that hurts, and having a boyfriend.

     Crompton, hand-in-hand with parenting author Kessner, has turned her daughter’s shattering, unthinkable death into a brilliant, readable book that is more necessary than ever in a world of Britney Spears and Eminem. A review from writer Anna Quindlen points out that another generation of teenage boys has grown up not knowing or caring how to treat girls, as evidenced by the boys who isolate, stalk, criticize, rape, and murder women, and in one case, make the girl an accessory to shoplifting (she broke off the relationship after her parents gave her a cooling-off period and her father told her “This is not the way someone shows his love.”)

     The book draws on real teenagers and their parents from all backgrounds, speaking in clear, intelligent voices, articulating the myriad pressures young women today face when involved in a love that hurts. Crompton and Kressner do not make light of peer pressure, or fail to note that the very rich and the very poor of today’s youth are the most at risk to become abusers, or shrink from advising parents to “back off” and accept the relationship. The personal safety plan for daughters in abusive relationships, the safety plan for daughters who have left the relationship, the ingenious suggestion of a “code word” signaling danger, are useful tools that make this more than another teens-in-crisis book. The coda of Crompton confronting Mark Smith in prison serves as a poignant reminder and incentive for all parents of teenage girls to read and share this book with their “Beautys.”

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