HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Is There Life After Boys?
Author: Linda Lewis
Cover Illustrator: Aristides Ruiz
Publisher: Simon Pulse, republished in 2007
ISBN-13: 978-0613127868 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0613127862 Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-1416961437 Paperback
ISBN-10: 1416961437 Paperback
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 12 and up
Rating: *** 3 stars (FAIR)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Lewis, Linda. Is There Life After Boys? (published in 1987 by Archway Paperbacks, an imprint of Pocket Books, as division of Simon and Schuster Inc., 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, NY 10020). Twelve year old Linda Berman lives in a New York City, NY, apartment with her parents and eight year old twin brothers Ira and Joey. There are only two bedrooms, one for her mother and father, and the other for the boys, so Linda must sleep on a futon in the living room. When she finishes sixth grade, instead of going to P.S. 515, the neighborhood junior high where all her friends from “the crowd” are going, including best friends Darlene Mason and Suzy Kletzel, and especially her boyfriend Jeff Davidson, “the boy who means more to me than anyone in the world,” she is accepted at Huntington, a high-class all girls school in New York City, along with Jan Zieglebaum, who is “skinny and underdeveloped,” whereas Linda says that she is on the small side but “my figure has at least started to develop.”
Immersed in the activities of a new school, which include volunteering to help at the Manhattan School for the Blind, Linda finds herself being left out by her old friends. She even learns that her archenemy, Sue-Ann Fein, has set her sights on Jeff. Will Linda be able to make new friends? Can she continue her relationship with Jeff? Or must she find a new boyfriend? And if so, how will she do that at an all girls school? The theme of this book is set forth in the very first sentence. Linda, who narrates the story, says, “It was only a little over a year ago that I discovered that boys are the most important thing around.” A lot of emphasis is placed on boyfriend-girlfriend relationships, and this is only seventh grade! One girl is described as “busty,” a “sexpot,” and “curvy in all the right places,” and another as “well-stacked,” and a boy is called “sexy.” References to kissing and even kissing games at a party are found. The language is not bad, with only a couple of common euphemisms (gee, darn).
The plot probably mirrors many young people’s experiences from a totally secular and worldly standpoint in public junior high schools. However, I suspect that godly parents who are trying to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord want better things for their kids, especially at such a young age, and would probably prefer better reading material. At the same time, there are some good lessons woven into the book, if a person can stomach the “romance,” such as knowing how to tell who one’s true friends are, helping those who are less fortunate, adapting to the changes of adolescence, and growing in respect for parental wisdom. At one point, Linda says of her mom and dad, “When it comes to my social life, they’re way too old-fashioned and strict.” Yet later on, she asks her father’s advice to help her work on her problems. This is apparently volume number two of some seven in a series about Linda Berman, the first being We Hate Everything But Boys.