The Insatiable Quest for Beauty is a young woman's guide to overcoming our obsession with perfection. The author, Tiffany Dawn is a remarkable young woman who shares her personal journey in her battle over her own quest for beauty. Like many other young women today Tiffany thought her struggle was unique to her. She thought she was the only person who felt that her healthy and normal weight was too heavy and that her best was never good enough.
Tiffany points out in the book how prevalent and strong the deception really is. Fashion models, which consist of only 2% of the population, are thinner than the majority and yet it is the majority of people, not the models, who are made to feel abnormal. The fact that even these models are air brushed to improve their looks means that “our own standards of beauty are so perfect that not even the models can live up to it.”
This insatiable quest drove Tiffany to what she refers to as “disordered eating.” While she was never technically diagnosed she often went without food and sometimes felt the desire to purge just so she could feel like she was skinny enough. After years of never finding satisfaction in her quest for beauty she began to feel totally empty. “Have you had those moments when it's easier to be fake than to be real?” She has, and says it was the worst feeling ever. Finally reaching the breaking point she cried out to God to see if He could satisfy her.
The rest of the book is about how Tiffany did find satisfaction in God, rather than beauty. It was a slow process with many little steps. She breaks them down into nine footholds that helped her overcome her quest for beauty and instead find satisfaction and joy in God alone. At the end of the book there is a solid presentation of the gospel for anyone who might read it and not yet be saved, for as she puts it, “It's only in Him that we can find the ultimate satisfaction and fulfillment.”
The Insatiable Quest for Beauty is not simply a book. Tiffany really strives to make it personal by calling each chapter a “coffee date” with you. After you read the chapter you are invited to visit her website to watch a coffee date Tiffany has with one of her friends. Each of her friends has a story to share about their own battle with perfection. It is a great reminder that you are not the only one who struggles with these issues.
Each on-line coffee date also has some other tools to help you on your journey. There are more thoughts from Tiffany, a bible reading assignment, devotion, some music videos that she either mentions in the book or that just go with the lesson, and some other interesting things. Some of the music videos she shares are actually her own. Tiffany has released a CD titled This is Who I Am with songs she has written during various points of her journey. It's actually really good and my daughter and I have enjoyed listening to it.
Besides all that, there is also a section for those who want to use the book in a small group setting. The small group leadership guide and workbook that Tiffany co-wrote with her friend Moriah are available for free. I think they offer some great tools to start the conversation about our obsessions with beauty. I would love to use this in my church with our young ladies.
While the book does use Scripture in various places I wish there was a bit more of it inside but I am glad that she found a way to add deeper study during her on-line coffee date segments. While most of the book is based upon Tiffany's personal story I certainly did find her experiences compelling and worth reading. What I loved most was her emphasis on teaching young women how to have a proper self-image. While that is not exactly how she referred to it, that is a good description of what she accomplishes and it lines up with Scripture beautifully.
As for how interested homeschool girls might be in the book, that really depends on the girl. If you or your daughters are the kind of young women who do not care what the latest fashions are, do not wear make-up or buy into any of the beauty hype the world tries to sell, then they may not relate much to this book. However, if you or your child might have those tendencies or even if they just spend time with girls who do, it would probably be beneficial. I believe this book would be good for most any young woman in high school or college. I really feel like this is something many of them need to hear.
I have such a heart for the young women I see who are trying so desperately to look like what they think beauty is supposed to be. I think this book is a great resource that will hopefully open their eyes to the emptiness the quest for beauty can lead to, and help them realize that God alone will bring true satisfaction. While even Tiffany realizes one book will probably not instantly change the course of a person's life it is her prayer, and mine, that it would be a turning point and, “prod you to let go of your insatiable quest for beauty and get started on your journey.”
The Insatiable Quest for Beauty book sells $9.99 and the CD This Is Who I Am is $12.00 for the hard copy or $9.99 from iTunes. You can follow the links on each of Tiffany's websites to make the purchases.
And another review:
The Insatiable Quest for Beauty is “a young woman’s guide to overcoming our culture’s obsession with perfection.” I wish I had read this book as a young adult. I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to read it now. I will certainly save this one for my daughter to read in her teen years. This lovely book is full of such amazing insight and encouragement for young ladies as they navigate those years in which they seek to define themselves.
With the book divided into 12 “coffee dates” (instead of chapters), Tiffany Dawn speaks to her readers about such topics as body image, eating disorders, and the insatiable quest for beauty. She describes her own personal journey – from the beginning of ‘just trying to be beautiful’ to the dark desperation which led her to seek God for her confidence and self-image.
At the conclusion of each chapter, readers are invited to visit “Tiffany’s Coffeehouse” (www.theinsatiablequestforbeauty.com). Here, they are invited to hear songs Tiffany wrote and/or was inspired by on her journey. Videos highlight young ladies being interviewed about their journeys and recoveries. There are Bible readings and other resources (handouts, websites, etc.), as well.
This book is available for purchase on Amazon. The paperback copies are $9.99, while the Kindle edition can be purchased for $2.99. If you are interested in leading a small group study of this book, a Leader’s Guide ($7.99) and workbook ($5.99) are also available for purchase through Amazon. The workbook and leader’s guide are also available for download (free) from Tiffany Dawn’s website.
-Product review by Tara Mitchell, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, March 2013