Monday, July 4, 2011

Not Afraid of Life as told by Bristol Palin's Toughest Teacher

Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far discusses in detail the painful lessons Bristol Palin learned, and gives an intimate glimpse into the dynamics of the Palin family from the eyes of their eldest daughter.

Bristol, 20, wrote the book with the help of Nancy French. Not Afraid of Life was released June 21, 2011. The memoir covers Bristol's latter teen years, beginning with her relationship with Levi Johnston, moving forward through Governor Palin's gubernatorial and vice presidential campaigns all the way through the early part of 2011. Readers are transported into Bristol's life as a high school student, barista, an assistant in a dermatologist's office, contestant on Dancing with the Stars, and teen advocate.

Bristol provides many intimate details of her life, which some readers may find uncomfortable, but which are key to some of the lessons learned.

Not Afraid of Life was an emotional roller coaster ride as readers are taken to the depths of Bristol's heartbreaks and the heights of her achievements. Bristol has her mother's sarcastic sense of humor that will leave readers laughing throughout the book, even through some of the painful moments. Not Afraid of Life is 256 pages of nice, easy reading. I found it difficult to put down. Like Going Rogue, Not Afraid of Life includes a photo spread of family shots several pages long halfway through the book.

Lessons Learned

The point of Not Afraid of Life was to provide young readers with the hard lessons learned from Bristol's experience so that they do not repeat her mistakes. Among them:
  • You start on the road to perdition when you're somewhere you're not supposed to be and have to lie about where you are.
  • Getting yourself inebriated to the point of losing control of your faculties is never a good idea. Luckily for Bristol, she walked away from that experience "only" with having her virginity stolen. Many others lost their very lives under similar circumstances.
  • Having sex with a chronic philanderer will not stop the philanderer from cheating on you.
  • Having sex to hold on to someone never works.
  • Birth control pills don't work when they're used incorrectly and doses are skipped or forgotten about. Contraception is not 100% guaranteed. It is subject to mechanical and human error.
  • A baby will not change an irresponsible man into a responsible one.
  • Staying in a bad relationship, hoping your partner will change is a vicious cycle. It took Bristol several iterations till she broke the cycle. Many people never change it and live their entire lives in abject misery.
  • The combination of Bristol's strong work ethic and a supportive family who unconditionally loves her was her salvation.


Readers of Not Afraid of Life also see what Bristol did right. Though she was fairly well-off, she went to work to secure her future and independence. She graduated high school with a 3.497 average while being a new single mother and working. When Bristol came into money, she invested it in real estate and a college fund for Tripp. Bristol went on a humanitarian mission to Haiti with Gov. Palin and learned even more lessons to help keep her grounded. Rather than let a mistake or even a series of mistakes ruin her life, Bristol recovered from them. Her strong work ethic, maternal instinct and strong sense of responsibility guided her back to the right path.

Her Toughest Teacher...

Bristol learned that her hardest, meanest teacher was neither in any classroom, nor in her home.

"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards."

-Vernon Sanders Law

Palin Family Dynamics: An Intimate Look

Readers get to see the sibling rivalries, and the interactions among the large extended family spanning multiple generations. We see the lives of Sarah and Todd Palin through the eyes of their eldest daughter from the perspective of a teenager and young adult. Bristol's vivid descriptions of events and incidents put the reader right in the action. For this reason alone, Not Afraid of Life is a must-read and and a must-have for the library of any Palin supporter.

Book Tour

Bristol's book tour is remarkably low-key compared Gov. Palin's tours for both Going Rogue and America by Heart. Of course, Gov. Palin has as many years experience as Bristol has been alive in marketing, campaigning, promoting, and being a Transformation Leader. Gov. Palin is also an expert on deploying Internet social media.

Bristol's book tour began at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN and will continue on to Birmingham, AL and Phoenix, AZ. Other cities on the tour are yet to be announced.

Further details may be released on Bristol's Facebook page. Dance Bristol Dance, a Facebook page maintained by Bristol's supporters is also a good resource for Bristol news, interviews, and events. Finally, both US for Palin and the People for Palin maintain dedicated Bristol Palin pages highlighting her key accomplishments.

Bristol Palin signs her book, "Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far" at the Best Buy Rotunda at Mall of America on June 29, 2011 in Bloomington, Minnesota. (June 28, 2011 - Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images North America)

(L-R) Todd Palin, Tripp Palin and Sarah Palin greet fans at the Best Buy Rotunda at Mall of America on June 29, 2011 in Bloomington, Minnesota. (June 28, 2011 - Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images North America)

Book signing photos retrieved from Zimbio.
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