Monday, April 02, 2007


I grew up in a family of four boys and three girls. Two of my sisters were the oldest, and one of the things that drove them crazy was a phrase my father often used to explain why my brothers and I acted as we did. His explanation was clear, simple, and succinct, “Boys will be boys.”

Looking back now, I can see how wise he was. And, at the same time, I remember how happy I was to be a boy, growing up in that house, at that time.

Recently I discovered a new book, WHISKER RUBS, Developing the Masculine Identity, by Don S. Otis, published by Living Ink Books. It mirrors some of the things I’ve learned over the past six years. I especially appreciated the introductory material where Don writes personally about the differences in how his father and mother viewed his growing up years. Of particular significance is the way Don feels that his father pushed him outside of his comfort zone, in order to explore all the possibilities in life.

My own son came to such a place in his life. It was one of the most difficult choices he had to make, causing him to stretch far beyond what he believed he could do. Today he is an attorney in a large law firm in Chicago. Still, I often wonder how his life might have turned out, if he hadn’t had a father who encouraged him to try?

Well, “Whisker Rubs” offers to shine a bright light into the darkness on the subject of boys who, today, are struggling with difficulties related to their own masculinity and self-esteem.

Call it inadvertent, or the law of unintended consequences, but there isn’t any doubt. Today, boys have a serious problem. Much of it comes from the fact that there may not be a positive male role model in their lives. Even though they may be doing their best as single parents, moms can only do their part of the job. A boy needs a man in his life, to teach some of life’s most important lessons.

“Whisker Rubs” in no way denigrates women. The book simply points out the importance of both the feminine and the masculine influences necessary as a boy grows into a man.

“Whisker Rubs” is divided into three main sections. In the first, Stages of Bewilderment, Don takes the reader through the same minefield that boys encounter as they grow up. From there, he tackles the consequences in our society after feminism entered the culture. The final section offers the most hope as it explains what men need in order to feel fulfilled.

“Whisker Rubs” is an important book because it doesn’t simply lay out what’s gone wrong for boys and men in our society. Nor does it lay the blame solely on women or the feminist movement. Don also offers answers and solutions.

I appreciate this because, when I set out to write books, especially for boys, I did so with the same knowledge that boys are different, their interests are different, and their emotional needs are different. There is no way we can cram boys and girls into the same mold. My action-adventures & mysteries, written especially for boys 8 – 13, are filled with danger, excitement, and heart-pounding action.

So far, most publishers have told me that they do better, in the market place, with books that appeal to girls. It is my hope that a book like “Whisker Rubs” will be one of many initiatives that will help swing the pendulum back in the opposite direction from where it is today.

“Whisker Rubs” would be excellent for sociology study at the college level, for study in adult Sunday school classes, in counseling, or for reading by parents today.

Max Elliot Anderson
Author of Action-Adventures & Mysteries, especially for boys.
Author web site
Books for Boys blog
Nearly 50 pages of reviews

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