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Bristol Palin conveys a simple truth in her new memoir

Posted by loricalabrese on June 27, 2011

Would you want your teenage years broadcast to the world? Probably not. Just fessing up to some of your teenage mistakes would send the blood rushing to your cheeks, however, for Bristol Palin, it just comes with the territory.

The world has witnessed Bristol Palin transform from unwed teenage mom to a finalist on Dancing with the Stars to a highly valued spokesperson for teenage pregnancy. In her new memoir, Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far, we learn even more about Bristol Palin as she is remarkably candid about her teenage mistakes and problems.

Even before its release, you probably read snippets of the book, specifically how Palin referred to Levi as a ‘gnat’ and somebody who cheated on her “as frequently as he sharpened his hockey states.” And of course the mentions of Meghan McCain, which had media outlets foaming at the mouth for a public catfight. But besides the usual soundbites that the media have eaten up, the book delves into the life of a teenager who is not only navigating the world of love and heartbreak, but also politics and stardom.

Bottom line and what most readers will take away from the book is that Bristol Palin was a teenager who fell in love and became blind to the bad boy prone to romps with other girls and disrespect to her family. You’ll be reassured that the combustible relationship that played out on the worldwide stage was very similar to a Jerry Springer episode and although you’ll find yourself asking, “When is this girl going to realize that this guy is not good for her?,” you’ll also admire the fortitude of a girl who isn’t afraid of taking on life’s imperfection. Palin even realizes the complexity of her own life with some self-deprecating humor (my life had become a Jerry Springer episode, and a bad one at that”).

It was fascinating to read about Palin’s time at the Governor’s mansion and what happened behind the scenes at the 2008 Presidential race from the eyes of a teenager, but I think what stood out for me most was Palin’s insight on how sexual standards are vitally important for a person’s sense of well-being. Although most of America welcomes reformed drug addicts to share their story, they look at an unwed teenage mom as a ‘hypocrite giving unrealistic advice.’ It’s really unfortunate because although Palin admits to making “pretty foolish decisions,” she has also used her situation to warn other teen girls about having sex before they’re married. The reason Palin says she shared her story was to convey a simple truth to the teens and adults who are out there reading the book—that if you have made a sexual mistake, you don’t have to fully give in to that sin. This from a 20-year-old, who realizes she hasn’t always “walked the walk” when it comes to standards, but isn’t going to be burdened by the bad decisions that have previously haunted her.

“Making mistakes and dealing with them, suffering pain and longing for a better day…that’s just all a part of life,” Palin writes.

Even though most of us haven’t had our mistakes play out on national TV, that’s something we can all relate to, wrestling with the indignities, pain and disappointments of life.

I’m shocked to read the many reviews out there that discredit Palin’s affect on one of the most important issues in our nation—teen pregnancy. For instance, The Washington Post writes, “If Palin truly counts herself among the most famous of women who have been wronged, and she really does want to help young adults avoid making similar mistakes, then it’s sad she couldn’t put her celebrity to more positive use.” Let’s see, Palin has become a spokesperson for the Candie’s Foundation, has appeared on television and in magazines to talk about waiting to have sex until marriage, has shot PSA’s stressing the importance of teen abstinence, has hit the speaker circuit to share her tale and has now contributed her new memoir to warn other teen girls about having sex before they’re married. What else is she expected to do? It seems to me that this 20-year-old has done so much to help teenagers avoid a similar situation by making her teenage mistakes and problems public , something I dare anyone out there to do.
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As published on Examiner.com

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