by Beth Walker
Woodbine House (November 30, 2004)
Purchase The Girls' Guide to AD/HD
This refreshing book, written for teenaged girls with AD/HD, has as much spunk and character as its intended audience. Author Beth Walker, whose daughter has the condition, writes in the first person as three fictional characters, Maddy, Helen, and Bo. Each represents a different way that AD/HD manifests itself in girls, making them dreamy, forgetful, talkative, or depressed, in turn.
Walker addresses the differences between girls' and boys' AD/HD, and doesn't shy from tough topics. You'll find down-to-earth discussions of friendship and dating, medication, school, siblings, drug abuse, common "bonus conditions" (anxiety and depression), and several "survival tactics" - including not comparing yourself to "The Perfect Girl." On a lighter note, the book reminds readers that "you'll probably forget this." From the lists of "Fun Facts to Forget" at the end of each chapter to the subtitle (Don't lose this book!), The Girls' Guide encourages us to develop a sense of humor about our AD/HD traits!
The book is definitely not boring, and, for some readers, it may err on the side of too busy! The Girls' Guide is chock-full of information - it even offers a diagram of the chemical structure of dopamine. A fourth character, Miss ADDvice Lady, answers "letters" at the end of each chapter. (For example, one "writer" prefers to play her musical instrument without medication. Another one thinks "this book is full of hooey.") I found this abundance of elements to be a little distracting and, at times, the information was difficult to follow.
However, there's much that is valuable here, and it's so appropriately framed that the book is worth the effort it might take to read it. It offers a lot of support for the fragile esteem of teenagers with AD/HD.
My recommendation is to read the book in many sittings, based on interest. Believe me, there is enough here to interest any girl - whatever her AD/HD tendencies.