________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 20 . . . . June 6, 2002

cover The Sex Book: An Alphabet of Smarter Love.

Jane Pavanel.
Montreal, PQ: Lobster Press (Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books), 2001.
200 pp., pbk., $18.95.
ISBN 1-894222-30-X.

Subject Heading:
Sex instruction for teenagers.

Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.

Review by Joanne Peters.

**** /4


Sex is a big, big part of life. It's exciting, confusing, liberating, and mysterious . . . And you probably wonder how you're ever going to figure it out. The thing is, you don't suddenly figure out sex, you learn about it at your own pace, pretty much as you're learning about yourself and the world around you. Over time, you'll find out what you like and don't like, what's right for you and what isn't. . . . (Introduction)

At 198 pages, The Sex Book is just the right format for its intended audience, and the mock "plain brown wrapper" cover design is a nice design touch. This book does cover all topics from A (Abstinence) to Z (all right, Y for yeast infections) and everything in between. Whether teens are straight or gay, planning to abstain or to become sexually active, this book stresses informed choice through information. Advantages and disadvantages of various birth control methods are offered, male and female points of view are provided, FAQ's are highlighted in sidebars, "street" and clinical terminology are indexed, and whimsical illustrations add to this book's approachability. Additional resources are listed both for Canada and the U.S., including a short but useful list of Internet web-sites focusing on issues of specific interest (rape and abusive relationships, STIs, etc.)

     I really liked the honesty and non-judgmental stance to sexuality offered in The Sex Book. Besides being a source of "everything you ever wanted to know about sex, but were afraid to ask," it recognizes the complexity of becoming a sexual being and stresses the value of making the right choice by having the right information. I think that my biggest problem with this book will be keeping copies from being stolen. Nevertheless, anyone contemplating purchase should read it carefully - its openness will undoubtedly offend some. Still, I highly recommend it for students in grades 9 and up; if you do acquire it, buy more than one copy, because it will disappear before too long!

Highly recommended.

Joanne Peters is a teacher-librarian at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364