Considering that she is only 21, Bristol Palin has a lot to write about in Not Afraid of Life, My Journey So Far. We all know who Bristol is. She and her four siblings burst upon the American scene when John McCain surprised the world with the selection of Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential candidate in the 2008 election. The entire family immediately became the target of intense media scrutiny looking for anything to discredit this burst of fresh-face folks from the boonies aiming at high office. How dare they?

Soon enough they learned that the beautiful teen-aged Bristol, unmarried, was pregnant! That was good grist for those who thrive on conjecture, the worse the better. But Bristol really has the inside scoop!

We get the backstory in this book on how the Palin family was sneaked from Alaska  into Ohio, hidden in a hotel with cockroaches, and presented to the world as a SURPRISE!

Where else can we learn how Bristol lost her virginity without intending to, how her family reacted to her pregnancy, why her “engagement” to Levi Johnson was on and off and on and off again. We also get a good look at the family dynamics and why, to Bristol, family is so important.

Palin Family- Bristol with her "baby bump"

From Bristol we can learn what it is like to have others buying clothes for you so you will look presentable on camera, others doing your hairstyling and makeup, to be always surrounded by security.

What was her reasoning behind accepting an offer to appear on Dancing With the Stars? Why did she gain weight on the show? How did she feel about finally coming in third?   Why and how did she buy a house in Arizona for $172,000 cash?

Along the way, Bristol bought a condo for herself and Tripp.   I was taken by her talent for decorating!

I immediatedly started making the condo uniquely mine–with large leather couches, flat-screen televisions, neat rugs, pink kitchen appliances, and – ofcourse– a toddler bed for Tripp. I painted the walls purple, bought a leopard print carpet for the upstairs hallway, and a purple-and-black swirled carpet for the living room….I made it into a comfortable–yet hip–place for a 19-year-old to develop into ‘home.’”

I have to admit I am fond of autobiographies. Though this book is written “with Nancy French” it has the ring of truth (the truths of an immature, good-hearted, unpretentious Alaskan girl). At the end she writes,  “ I do know I’ve made the decision not to have sex again until I’m married. (I’ve had one partner in my entire life, and that’s one partner too many for an unmarried twenty-year-old.”)

Also, “…not being afraid of life’s imperfection and complexity is the first step toward truly living it.  Oh, and it helps to reach out to the only one who truly offers hope in this world.

No, not president Obama.”

I enjoyed this book and think you might, too.

Not Afraid of Life