‘The 10 Women You’ll Be Before You’re 35’ offers a reality check for college women

Jenn Press

Looking for answers to the burning question,”Who am I?” can feel like a never-ending struggle. The pressure to define one aspect of yourself and call it a complete package seems to be off-balance considering there are so many components that make up a personality.

Alison James’ new book,”The 10 Women You’ll be Before You’re 35,” engages readers in a creative look at a woman’s developmental path and reaches out to women of all ages about the various shoes they may walk in during various points in her life.

James, author of “I Used to Miss Him…But My Aim is Improving,” fearlessly takes you on the roller coaster ride of the female psyche as readers travel through the ups, downs and upside downs of a woman’s first decade in the “real world”. It is not an identity crisis; it is a reality check.

There is an overwhelming whirlwind of pressure to “find yourself,” which especially burdens college students. It is as if individuals are supposed to form some cookie cutter mold by the time they have reached a certain age. The secret behind it all is there are so many versions of one’s self which are represented in the various stages of life.

James breaks down her “top ten list” by chapter: The New Graduate, Dollarless Diva, Worker Bee, Party Girl Body-Conscious Babe, Chameleon, Crisis Chick, Ms. Independence, Wirl [half woman/half girl] and last of all, True You. Each stage is described by a rundown of what a woman of each personality may encounter. This report card describes the nickname, look, fashion, phrase, love interest, favorite songs, events/activities, friends and life goals a woman in each category will best associate with.

Similar to “I Used to Miss Him…” quotes sporadically adorn the pages of this feminine read. The book is in tune to the inner self with a positive, inspirational feel. It is not an overbearing guide suggesting anyone “should” or “must” encounter each stage, but rather a compilation of observations by a woman with keen insights on life. The book is an opportunity for women to welcome their quirkiness and silly stages with open arms and truly accept who they are. It is a great way for women to realize just how much they have or will conquer in a short period of time.

The book is an easy read, set up with various anecdotes and floral bulleted lists to break up the text. James even makes word comparisons to show how the meaning behind certain phrases or ideas can differ before and after graduation.

As college students who have not yet experienced any of these stages, it is still possible to relate to the Dollarless Diva dealing with economic encounters, the socialite Party Girl or even the New Graduate looking forward to her future ahead.

The truth is, year after year everyone undergoes changes. Whether hormonal, physical, mental or emotional, no individual is spared from emotion. Everyone deals with a potpourri of phases and situations and must adapt to life on their own. James recognizes the relationship between the inner woman and the outside world to the extent you may find yourself saying “Oh, I get it!”

Although not every woman will relate to each stage, there is something recognizable in the text, even if she has not or will not experience it herself. Readers will be able to pinpoint certain characteristics as someone they are, someone they were, someone they aspire to be, or even someone they hope to steer clear from turning into. Each mock character may be real in the reader’s eyes as a female relative, friend or even college roommate they once knew.

“The 10 Woman You’ll Be…” is bright enough to offer valid information, and entertaining enough for a lighthearted read.