Teen and pre-teen girls make mistakes: bad boyfriends, two-timing friends, unplanned pregnancy, substance abuse, suicide — and always for growing girls, there’s that pesky challenge called sex. For adolescent girls confronting these and other life tests, Minister Patricia S. Hatcher-Jones seeks to show a better path in a brief guide she calls Uh-uh, Daughter, Don’t Even Go There.
Written from a Christian viewpoint as interpreted by Hatcher-Jones, the 56-page booklet offers 10 short chapters to help “you, my little Sista…avoid some pitfalls that could hinder or delay your divine destiny.” Her heartfelt sermons all pivot on the word “don’t” ( “Don’t Allow Makeup to Create a Different You”; “Don’t Let Your Flesh Dictate What You Wear”; “Don’t Let the Voice of Suicide Speak,” and so on.)
To preach these determined lessons, Hatcher-Jones borrows liberally from her own life,–sharing early mistakes with premarital sex, drugs and lousy boyfriends, among other poor choices. Why, she asks herself, “was I indulging in those substances that were creating false comfort zones?” As she put it: “I didn’t like drinking, so why did I drink? I didn’t like smoking cigarettes, so why did I smoke?” Her answers to these and other questions are simplistic but relatable. “I would consume to coat my emotional pain…Many times I consumed just for the heck of it.” To readers, she exhorts: Don’t go there. Turn to God, His word, prayer and the guiding Holy Spirit.
It’s basic and sound advice. But is it effective? Yes and no. Hatcher-Jones’ writing voice is caring and reflective.
For girls familiar with preaching-as-teaching, the booklet–with its Bible scriptures, prayers and discussion questions–will feel familiar and wise. For non-churched girls, however, the author’s style may feel didactic and preachy, more a turn-off than help. Still, to her credit, Hatcher-Jones gives this brief life guide her all. With such passion, if only one girl heeds her sermons, she will make a difference.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.