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Girls on the Edge: The Four Factors Driving the New Crisis for Girls—Sexual Identity, the Cyberbubble, Obsessions, Environmental Toxins Hardcover – April 27, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; First Edition edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465015611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465015610
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #335,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In Boys Adrift (2007), Sax, a family physician and psychologist with more than 20 years of experience, explored the disturbing trend of young men who are disengaged from their lives. In this companion volume, he turns to the other half of the population and identifies four factors that are threatening the mental and physical health of young women today: a culture that sexualizes young girls; the “cyberbubble” of social networking and electronic communication; obsessive behaviors, including eating disorders; and environmental toxins that disrupt the endocrine system and lead to early-onset puberty. In clear, accessible language, Sax deftly blends anecdotes, clinical research, and even lines of poetry in persuasive, often fascinating chapters that speak straight to parents; in the book’s second half, he offers practical ideas for nurturing girls’ minds, bodies, and spirits, from advocating for girls’ athletics programs to making room for prayer in secular households. Warning that “a 1980s solution” won’t help solve twenty-first-century problems, Sax offers a holistic, sobering call to help the current generation of young women develop the support and sense of self that will allow them to grow into resilient adults. And, finally, he counsels parents to be persistent: “Don’t back away even when she tells you to get lost.” Pair this eye-opening title with similar resources listed in the adjacent Read-alikes column, “Girl Talk, Part 2.” --Gillian Engberg

Review

Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic
"The best book about the current state of girls and young women in America, Girls on the Edge, by a physician and psychologist named Leonard Sax, offers astonishing and troubling new insight into the role and consequences of binge drinking in so many girls’ lives."
 
Booklist
“In clear, accessible language, Sax deftly blends anecdotes, clinical research, and even lines of poetry in persuasive, often fascinating chapters that speak straight to parents…Warning that ‘a 1980s solution’ won’t help solve twenty-first-century problems, Sax offers a holistic, sobering call to help the current generation of young women develop the support and sense of self that will allow them to grow into resilient adults.”

Library Journal

“The world is way different from what it was a couple of years ago; this is essential reading for parents and teachers, and one of the most thought-provoking books on teen development available.”

Slate’s Double X Book of the Week
“Fortunately, [Leonard] Sax is up to more here than pronouncing young women irrevocably doomed…Girls on the Edge doesn't dramatize the self-destructive behavior it describes…[and it] speaks exclusively to parents and offers concrete ways to help their daughters cultivate stronger personal identities.”
 
Florence Hilliard, Director of the Gender Studies Project, University of Wisconsin–Madison
“Dr. Sax once again combines years of experience with compelling research and common sense to intelligently challenge the status quo of what it means to raise a healthy daughter. Girls on the Edge offers skills parents can incorporate to feel more competent with our girls and young women.”

Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, author of God’s Paintbrush and In God’s Name
“Turn off your cell phones and computers, and read this book! You will connect with your daughter in new ways, and she will thank you.”

Margaret M. Ferrara, PhD, editor of Advances in Gender and Education (A.G.E.) and associate professor, University of Nevada Reno
“Written through real stories and supported by strong evidence in the fields of education, psychology, and the sciences - a MUST read.”

Courtney E. Martin, author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters
“Leonard Sax brings together a rare combination of psychoanalytic training with a deep empathy for girls and their stories in this important book. His argument that girls are struggling to find their centers will resonate and his recommendations for how to locate them will inspire.”
 

More About the Author

Leonard Sax MD PhD graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and then went on to the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned both a PhD in psychology, and an MD. He completed a 3-year residency in family practice in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. For 19 years, Dr. Sax was a practicing family physician in Maryland, just outside Washington DC. In 2005, Doubleday published his first book Why Gender Matters. His second book, Boys Adrift, was published in 2007; an expanded softcover edition was published in 2009. His third book Girls on the Edge was published in 2010; an updated softcover edition was released in July 2011. Dr. Sax has spoken on issues of child and adolescent development not only in the United States but also in Australia, Bermuda, Canada, England, Germany, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland, and Spain. He has visited more than 380 schools since 2001. He has appeared on the TODAY Show, CNN, National Public Radio, PBS, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, New Zealand Television, and many other national and international media. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Chester County, Pennsylvania, where his favorite activities are hiking in the woods, and singing Taylor Swift songs with his daughter (favorite song: Begin Again). You can reach Dr. Sax directly, or link to his Facebook page, via his web site www.leonardsax.com.

Customer Reviews

The fourth factor, like in Boys Adrift, discusses environmental toxins.
Dale Sadler
This book is very well-written and well researched; the author was able to be clear without being condescending.
A. Luciano
Girls on the Edge is an excellent read, and I highly recommend it for all parents of daughters.
K. Spangler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By bored99 VINE VOICE on March 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I can't remember the last time I stayed up this late to read a work of non-fiction. I picked up this book with a hefty dose of skepticism, and found myself entranced. Sax's insights seem spot-on and realistic, even though some of them are gender based. I'm female and work in technology at a Fortune 5 company, so things that blithely apply gender stereotypes make me seethe, but all of his observations seem realistic, insightful, research based, AND ultimately promote more choice, health, and support for girls. Who knew that cheerleading coaches don't have to be trained in how to recognize concussions, even though football coaches do? And that girls are 40 to 300 percent more likely to get concussions than boys (depending on the sport)? Ultimately this book is packed with information about girls in such a way that you can use it to empower your own children, rather than simply excusing bad behaviors with a "well, she's a girl!" label. My daughter is 5, and he directly addresses many of the issues I'm starting to wonder about, and trying to prepare to handle in the all-too-near future.

I found his discussion of sexuality to be enlightened rather than repressive, even as it supports some traditional values: "As parents, we must reject the notion that girls have to take off their clothes to empower themselves. Boys don't have to take off their clothes to empower themselves. Girls shouldn't either. / Sexuality is good, but _sexualization_ is bad. Sexuality is about your identity as a woman or a man, about feeling sexual. That's a healthy part of becoming an adult. But sexualization is about being an object for the pleasure of others, about being on display for others.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Glacier Mom VINE VOICE on June 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Here is a book both practical in the best family-physician sort of way and subversive in the context of a materialistic culture. Do you know what I love best about it? Dr. Sax sides with Goethe when he says, what about spirit? He writes in "the dark night of the soul" the following: "Why is the spiritual journey so important? Because life doesn't go as planned. Because death and loss happen. Because disappointment hurts. Even if a girl has a brilliant mind and has earned top marks in every subject, and she is in great physical shape, those achievements of mind and body will count for nothing when a crises hits." Amen. Leonard Sax loves the female spirit and is obviously a true guardian and inspirator; he cares about individuation and actualization; he cares about freeing the human spirit. He's a practical Romantic! I love that Sax starts by quoting Rilke: "Go into yourself and find out how deep is the place from which your life springs..."

I'd love to do a rewrite of the original "Freaky Friday" movie informed by Sax's book. This girl would not be like Jodie Foster's character, goofing off to fit in, neglecting her own intellectual potential; rather, she'd stay up until 1 am perfecting her MySpace page every night, she'd have a 4.2 GPA, an over-scheduled life just like her absent mother, perfect six-pack abs, joyless sexual encounters performing for faceless boys and a yawning interior emptiness. Hooray for a feminism that neglected spirit and became co-opted by industry! I could quibble with Sax, despite his clear bead on girls; I could wish for a less repetitive writing style; I could say, well, you've covered BPAs and phthalates, but what about phyto-estrogens like soy? I could say, stop quoting Michael Pollan and check out Sally Fallon. But why? Sax inspired me to begin praying with my little girls at bedtime, just as my mother used to with me, and that's huge.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I must admit that I was initially a bit skeptical - What would a MAN know about the troubles girls have after all?!?

However, I chose to read the book despite my misgivings as I was intrigued by the sub-title "The Four Factors Driving the New Crisis for Girls - sexual identity, obsessions, environmental toxins and the cyberbubble" I am so very glad that I did!

Despite having been written by someone of the opposite sex, this book is absolutely right on. The author has extensive experience working with girls through his family practice and psychotherapy practice. His insights are impressive, if somewhat discouraging due to their nature. He has a daughter himself. I was shocked by some of the information that I read yet I easily identified with other information, as it is something I remember experiencing myself when I was a teen (despite being over 20 years ago for me...)

Dr. Sax has identified four key areas of harm to girls as caused by the nature of our society, technology and accepted norms of today. He clearly outlines what the problems are, illustrates the issues with anecdotal stories of girls he's worked with who have struggled with these issues, provides research to further back his position and follows it up with suggestions on how parents can mitigate the named problem areas in hopes of raising a happy, self confident, radiant girl despite the challenges.

Some may be put off by the author's titles of the four key areas: sexual identity, obsessions, environmental toxins and the cyberbubble.
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