Kari Kampakis. Liked: Whose Approval Are You Living For? Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2016. See here to buy the book.
In Liked: Whose Approval Are You Living For?, Kari Kampakis
offers teenage girls advice in this social media age. Among the topics
that she address are the difference between online and person-to-person
friendships, how to handle one’s desire for fame on social media, how to
conduct oneself on social media, the importance of being kind to people
and reaching out to them in person, appreciating one’s own uniqueness,
and how to cope with rejection. The advice that she offers is helpful,
not only for teenage girls, but for others looking for a helpful
repertoire in life.
Most of the chapters open with a story or case-study, and the stories
were engaging and relatable. They presented people who were dealing
with insecurity, rejection, or social challenges in reaching out to
people; a person who confused love of God with a desire for personal
fame; and a person who was in a clique that squashed individuality and
encouraged members to ostracize someone, yet brought its members acclaim
among their peers.
In a number of chapters, Kampakis had lists of recommended
strategies, on such topics as social media habits, handling
relationships, dealing with rejection, cultivating one’s faith, and
serving others. At the end of many of the chapters are questions. Many
of the questions are about how the respondent feels and why, but some
of them are case-studies that offer multiple-choice options on how to
respond to a situation. On these latter questions, Kampakis identifies
what she believes are the appropriate responses.
A theme that recurs throughout the book is God’s unconditional love.
Kampakis says that God loves us, even though God knows what we are
really like, and she encourages people to be charitable towards others,
with their flaws. That is an encouraging picture of God. It is
helpful, in a world of so much judgment and rejection, to believe that
God is accepting. Does it square with everything that the Bible says
about God? I struggle with that, but I agree that Kampakis presents a
compelling picture of God and a relationship with God.
Kampakis encourages people to reach out to others, but she is also
sensitive, on some level, to the reality that some people are shy or
introverted, or fear rejection. Her advice takes that into account, and
she encourages people to be kind to others, even if they remain
unnoticed. She sometimes offers specific tips on social interaction:
compliment a person, ask a person for advice if that person excels at
something, be willing to help others, etc. I think that the book would
have been better had it offered more social tips, such as advice on
where and how to make friends, or how to approach people without turning
them off. Often, Kampakis seemed to assume that Christians’ bubbly,
joyful personality would attract people, but that assumption strikes me
as too optimistic, or at least as too much of a generalization.
Kampakis makes a valid point when she describes why Christians should be
hopeful—-because they see the sufferings of this life as temporary—-but
I would respond that there are people who may try to believe in
Christian doctrine yet struggle to have hope, let alone convey a hopeful
attitude towards others.
I will add that what Kampakis says about her children in the Acknowledgments is beautiful.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers. My review is honest!