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Book review: 'Why I Don't Hide My Freckles Anymore' is an empowering account

By Shelby Scoffield

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Feb. 8 2014 5:00 a.m. MST

"WHY I DON'T HIDE MY FRECKLES ANYMORE: Perspectives on True Beauty," edited by LaNae Valentine and Lisa Tensmeyer Hansen, Deseret Book, $16.99, 147 pages (nf)

The stories LaNae Valentine and Lisa Tensmeyer Hansen compiled in "Why I Don't Hide My Freckles Anymore: Perspectives on True Beauty" are a wonderful way to help encourage women to see themselves as beautiful daughters of God.

Women today are bombarded with harmful messages about beauty, Valentine and Hansen write. They are told that their bodies aren't good enough and their appearance is mediocre. These ideals are flaunted in the media and women often feel like they don't measure up.

"Why I Don't Hide My Freckles Anymore," which is scheduled to be released on Feb. 17, reminds women that our Heavenly Father is the rightful beholder of true beauty. God does not look at weight, skin tone and hair color; instead he looks at our souls and sees us for who we really are.

One of the most powerful stories in the book is called "The Journey is Rough" by Charlotte Marie Neeley. In the story, Neeley talks about the journey she went on to discover her own beauty. At the age of 8, Neeley was told she was gaining too much weight and she began to have an unhealthy relationship with her body. She would starve herself, skip meals, try throwing up and give away her lunch at school. After 15 years of torturing herself, Neeley finally realized that she was beautiful — no matter what she weighed.

Another memorable story is called "According to the World I Am Not Beautiful" by Sadie Klein. In this story, Klein talks about her passions and how that makes her beautiful. She states that she does not fit into a size 0 bathing suit, but she loves to sing and read books. She knows she will never fit into society's definition of beauty, and that is OK.

Overall, "Why I Don't Hide My Freckles Anymore" is a powerful testament to the strength of women. It is an empowering book for girls of any age.

There are about 60 essays by women of varying ages, backgrounds and from a variety of places across the U.S.

Valentine is the director of Women's Service and Resources at Brigham Young University. Hansen is a therapist at BYU Comprehensive Clinic.

Shelby Scoffield has a bachelor's in English from Brigham Young University and a master's in rhetoric and composition from Stanislaus State University. She is currently working on her teaching credentials so she can teach high school English.

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