The Fragrance of a Girl’s World
As Donna Kristine Manley notes in her introduction to The Fragrance of a Girl’s World, “Every girl deserves her world to be as pleasant and as stress-free as possible.” Of course, given the various difficulties and obstacles that girls are likely to encounter as they grow up, achieving such a comfortable world is no easy matter, which is why Manley has written this book. In it, she offers thirty-three bite-sized pieces of wisdom, wit, and advice, which she characterizes as fragrances, intended to “uplift, encourage, and motivate” girls as they seek to find their place in the world.
The first of the fragrances that Manley introduces is “The Fragrance of God,” and it’s clear that her faith in God has provided her with much strength and comfort in her own life. She recommends the power of faith to readers and makes reference to the role of God in relation to several of the other fragrances, so while the book is not specifically targeted toward Christians, it is likely that readers who share the author’s faith will get the most out of the proffered wisdom. Manley also offers advice concerning support structures other than faith that girls are likely to rely on, namely family and friends. Her guidance here is sound, stressing the need to remain true to oneself and to be prepared to make difficult decisions when necessary.
A good number of the fragrances described within The Fragrance of a Girl’s World can be considered the building blocks of a sound character. For instance, Manley highlights the importance of integrity and having a strong moral compass, and she stresses the benefits of humility. However, while it is important to “let the inner you shine naturally,” the following advice is much more controversial: “Do not push yourself forward; your gifts and your talents will do that for you.” Although in an ideal world natural talent will speak for itself, the real world is still far from ideal (or equal) and girls should be encouraged to be their own biggest fans and to highlight their talents and achievements. Still, when Manley moves on to discuss the importance of confidence, she is on much firmer ground.
Some of the fragrances are more practical in nature and intended to help girls set themselves up well for the future. For example, Manley stresses the importance of working for what you own and practicing responsible ownership, and she emphasizes the need to save in order to always be independent. She also discusses the need to protect your physical and mental health so that you are able to succeed in life. It’s not all burdensome and weighty stuff though, as Manley recommends the benefits of socializing, travel, bargain hunting, and downtime, among other fun yet still edifying activities.
While the theme of fragrances represents a good means of unifying the advice contained within the book, it isn’t totally successfully maintained throughout, particularly when it comes to the lists, mottos, illustrations, and poetry found towards the end. The Fragrance of a Girl’s World is a valuable endeavor and Manley has done a good job of assembling mostly sound advice intended to benefit girls and young women.
|Donna Kristine Manley
|Christiana Press LLC
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