With 79 sources in the bibliography, its obvious Josey Vogels did her homework for her fourth book The Secret Language of Girls (Thomas Allen Publishers, 276 pages, $21.95, paper, ISBN: 0887621023). This entertaining, often hilarious read for twenty- and thirty-something females is like reading the official manual for the Secret Society of Girl Talk. The appeal is similar to that of late night television star Sarah Jessica Parker's successful show Sex and the City, as she pens her thoughts on sex, relationships and the dating game in a pair of Manolo Blahniks at the corner coffee shop.
Vogels' great sense of humour and extensive research Šmake' this book but Vogels does tend to generalize. And some women¨those of us who don't gab all that much¨may find themselves on the fringes of the girls' club Vogels suggests all women belong to. Still, there's no doubt every woman¨young or old¨will relate to at least some of the insightful topics, anecdotes and historical tidbits this book spills over with.
Starting with a history of the evolution of female communication, Vogels take us through a woman's life cycles. Nothing is left out from the school playground, slumber parties and "bleeding across cultures" to shoe fetishes, hair salons and the history of make-up. Quotes from fellow females add a Šreal life' touch and prove the Secret Language really does exist.
The Secret Language of Girls Glossary at the end of the book is a good idea but only covers a small sampling of things girls say in relationships, while dating, on sex and in girl talk of the bathroom-shopping-I feel fat variety. Evidently, girls have many ways of communicating on many different topics. Despite this the glossary had to be limited, though why not turn it into an accompanying book, the bible of girl speak?
Vogels' humour is effective: "When your girlfriend tells you she was upset and managed to polish off half a carrot cake, you tell her that her body must have been craving beta carotene." And her frankness is fresh: "Nothing kicks the little girl out of you like the moment you see that first brown splotch on your undies." Fantastic headings like "I Love Your Boots!" and "Does This Make My Ass Look Huge?" spark interest. Who can put down Vogels' well-researched "Memorable Moments in Shoe History"?
Vogels' "Final Words" describe the Secret Language as a bridge, a perfect metaphor for what the book is about as well as what it achieves with female readers: "The link we have with other women, the life experiences we share, the communication and unique language we develop together are like a bridge between us, one we know we can cross at any time to connect with each other." ˛