the curse of the good girl book review.

One of my favorite perks of having a blog is that people ask me to review books. And for me, getting free books is neck and neck with free makeup {no really} especially when the books are really good.

I received a copy of The Curse of the Good Girl several weeks ago and didn’t give it much thought until I got on a plane headed to NYC and had some uninterrupted reading time.

I cracked it open on the runway and started reading, and reading, and then I whipped out a pen and started underlining and folding pages down again and again. All indicators of a good book, no?

This book should be required reading for parents of girls. It should be handed out at the hospital with the free diaper bag, it’s that important. It resonated with me on several levels:

  • as a woman
  • as a mother
  • as the mother of a little girl making her way in the world right now in school, in social circles, and at home

The book is written by Rachel Simmons, a successful author and educator of young women, and the founding director of the Girls’ Leadership Institute.

In the book Rachel outlines exactly how and when girls curtail their powerful potential by living up to the expectations of others to be the *Good Girl*, instead of the one who’s abrasive who stands up for what she knows to be true.

I really can’t do the book justice, it’s a must-read. Here’s a snippet from the introduction of the book where Rachel has interviewed girls at her institute to find out what makes *A Good Girl*:

  • no opinions on things
  • tons of friends
  • skinny
  • organized
  • follows the rules
  • conservative
  • follower

And what makes a Bad Girl?

  • arguing
  • rule breaker
  • doesn’t care what people think
  • proud
  • backtalking
  • speaks her mind

A little scary, right? The very same things we praise in boys, being proud and speaking his mind, are things that set girls apart in social circles as rebellious and bad.

Something to think about, especially as I’m navigating these very waters with P. Really: buy it, check it out from your local library, trade with a friend. Let me know what you think; it was right on target with how I felt during my entire adolescence, and I’m finding it’s pretty accurate for women is business as well.

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Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. trish :

    I'm so glad you liked it and found it useful, Allison! I know I need to buy the book now, because while I think I'm better than some at NOT being a good girl, dang if it isn't really difficult to speak my mind sometimes! :)

  2. Petit Elefant :


    It's a fantastic book, an indispensable resource for raising girls, loved it.

    I speak my mind regularly, and I don't even try to help it. ;)

  3. Jenny :

    Just put it on hold at my library! Thanks for the recommendation.

  4. Petit Elefant :


    Anytime. If you don't want to wait you're more than welcome to borrow my copy. :)

  5. Naomi :

    I definitely want to check this out… when you have one of each, you can see the differences between girls and boys so clearly.

  6. Petit Elefant :


    As a feminist, I wanted to believe that there really isn't that much different between genders, but the fact of the matter is that it's in the DNA.

  7. Erin :

    I have been on a parenting book kick lately. I need all the help I can get. Just put it on hold at the library

  8. KJ :

    amen! sadly, as I navigated the corporate world, my employers tried so smother my "bad girl" tendencies. Whoops! I had an opinion. Whoops! I stood up for myself! so frustrating. My children are much better, um, bosses.

  9. Petit Elefant :


    It's really insightful, and she offers solutions and strategies for dealing with the pitfalls along the way.


    Scary isn't it?

  10. The Breeders Digest :

    Geez it only took me 30-odd years to break out of my good-girl chains. My oldest daughter is a pistol and I often say to my husband, I wish I knew how to box up all those things that drive us NUTS (back talk, opinions, attitude) and give them back to her when she's a bit older and could really put them to good use. I'll definitely have to pick this book up.

  11. jamie t. :

    I have two daughters and just this week I was thinking, "I need to find a great book on raising daughters. I am out of ideas and inspiration." Thanks for the recommendation.

  12. Petit Elefant :

    The Breeders Digest,

    It seems like the rules with girls/women are still ambiguous. In some circles it's okay to be verbal, in others not so much. I really loved the way she outlined all the traits I had as a young girl and talked about how society tampers them down.

    jamie t.

    She not only gives the research but provides strategies for real life solutions for our girls. Fabulous.

  13. Miranda :

    Wow, thanks for the recommendation. I can't wait to check this book out…I think about issues like this all the time…not just for my daughter but for MYSELF!

  14. b. :

    Hhhmmm…thank you for this.

  15. Petit Elefant :


    Yeah, I think I learned as much about myself as I did about the muddy waters of adolescent girls. Really informative, and interesting!


    hmmm, you're welcome. :)