Tindell Baldwin I would say is quite brave to share her story. It’s not easy to open up about past mistakes and really share your heart with people, so they gain insight into how badly mistakes can rattle our life. Considering her target are teens I think she expresses herself very well. I can imagine that her story will impact many teens and help even those who have made mistakes and may feel bogged down by them. That was honestly my favorite thing about Baldwin, she doesn’t just focus on the people who haven’t made mistakes yet, because she knows how it feels to have a message prepared for prevention, but not one that gives hope to those who have already messed up.
Summary: Tindell grew up in a fairly normal family. She was one of the middle children with three other brothers, and a mom and dad. The biggest thing her family would have to work to fight for was her mother who had a chronicle illness. Despite Tindell’s normal upbringing and that she had no signs of being of the statistics she somehow found herself drawn to the world of being popular. To be popular though it requires sometimes sacrificing attributes of yourself that will hurt to miss later on. She began drinking and using drugs to fit in, and when it came to boys she felt an ever present want to have to sex to connect to the idea of love.
Characters: As with most books, I’m just not a fan of writing in past tense. The characters fall a little flat despite everyone in the story being real people. They would be a lot more alive and impacting if they were told as if they things they were doing were happening in the now. Tindell though I believe will be an easy to relate to person for most teenage girls. She struggles with most girls do even if they deny it. On some level all girls want to fit in somewhere and be accepted. I think she has a little wrong about the girl she talks about in novel named, Inker though. She said that she envied Inker because she believed she had something she didn’t have as a child, which was an identity that didn’t look to please others in the popular crowd. I am someone who might have been more like the oddball girl who liked to read as Inker was though, and I can say that just because I wasn’t conforming to the popular crowd didn’t mean I struggled to not have some sort of identity that didn’t always mesh with where I should have had my identity in Christ.
Writing: As said earlier, the writing is very past tense, which for me was difficult to read because it doesn’t involve the reader in the action is much. I get she was writing in past tense though to lead into points at various points during each chapter though. I just felt it could have been better tied together with the points and story by carrying it all the way through with more action involvement.
Plot: The basics of the book is to give teenage girls a person to identify with, and hopefully keep them from making the same mistakes or give hope to ones who have. I loved some of Baldwin’s insights into life. She seems like a really intelligent female writer who didn’t just set out to write a book and make it very bland as far as the message. She really tries to fuse into the emotions that wreaked havoc on her life after bad decisions, but also the hope she found in God once she became more involved in her faith. I believe that my favorite insight is why God gives us the chances he does despite our constant sinning, and she compares it to how humans don’t get frustrated at a dog’s inability to not talk because he can’t. Read the book, she says it more catchy than I can.
Popular is a lot better than I expected. Some books trying to reach out to teen girls just feel flat and not like they have passion for the actual person they are speaking to. Baldwin though just wants to share her life experience, which she knows isn’t anything too out of the ordinary, but she wants to share how it can negatively impact you as a female if you do make those choices because she feels that part of the subjects of drinking, drugs and sex is being left in telling teen girls. She also goes over the frustration of being a woman, but also the things to be thankful for regarding the fact that you are a woman. I have often struggled with the fact that I feel I was dealt a bad card in being born a woman, but I loved her passages from the Bible and the hope she gives to women on how only women have specific inner and outer beauty qualities only females can have.
Rating 8 of 10.
This book was provided by Tyndale in exchange for a review.