Review: The Girl in the Orange Dress by Margot Starbuck

Youth Specialties
June 10th, 2010

The Girl in the Orange Dress is an autobiographical novel by Margot Starbuck. Simply put, it's the story of her search for acceptance after years of feeling rejected.

From the very first page, I was captivated by Margot's story. I found myself nodding as I read about her journey. While the details of her life might not line up with my life exactly, her desire to figure out where she fits and who she is was something I could relate to very easily.

This book was a great read for me as a woman and as a youth worker. As much as I saw myself in Margot's words, I saw my students just as clearly. I know so many girls (and boys) who are coming from broken homes and destructive relationships and find it hard to believe that God's faithfulness is any more reliable than what they've experienced from the people in their lives.

As she talks about all the people who walked in and out of her life, it becomes more and more clear that each of these departures have a profound effect on the way she views God. As she searches for acceptance and a place to belong, her words are raw and authentic.

One of the things that jumped out at me the most was her experience as a kid, going to church without her parents. On page 21 she writes “I would crane my head to watch other children cuddled up against their parents' safe bodies. I felt like an interloper. I still have the Bible I received at that church as I stood beside the legitimate Sunday school kids in third grade.” I am convinced that there are young people in most of our churches feeling that same way. The desire to belong is just as real within the walls of the church as it is anywhere else. I feel challenged by Margot to do whatever I can to prevent young people from feeling the way she did.

I think some of the writing would go over a younger girl's head but this book is perfect for high school and college age girls as well as adults. For anyone who is working with a teenage girl who struggles to feel worthy of love (which, sadly, is most teenage girls), this would be a great book to read together and talk about. We can tell our girls over and over again the truth of God's unconditional love but sometimes it takes someone other than us to really get the message across. Margot's voice comes through so honestly that her story is hard to disregard.

I truly loved this book. I'm wondering if I can order it by the case!

Youth Specialties

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