Book Review: Getting Beyond “Whatever”

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Our main form of communication is verbal. The way we express ourselves with our word choice expresses who we are. Dr. Shale Preston’s book, Getting Beyond Whatever, explains how teenagers use the specific word, “whatever,” to show an apathetic attitude towards life. Getting Beyond Whatever creates different outlets for a new way of thinking. It begins with A for Affirmations, or positive statements, then goes through the whole alphabet while using affirmations toward describing positive values.


About the Author:
Before delving into the content of the book, Shale Preston, PhD, is equipped and accredited in lecturing on self-development, spirituality and literature. Preston’s doctorate is in English Literature, and she holds the title of honorary associate at Macquarie University’s English Department in Sydney,  Australia.

From A -Z
The English professor creates a way for the reader to go through the book whenever the need for encouragement occurs. From looking up something directly or reading the book from its introduction to its notes, the reader will find guidelines that help with the content of the book. By breaking up the sections with inspirational words representing each letter  of the alphabet, the audience can gain a better reading experience to channel into their lives.

Adios, whatever!
The book revolves around different ways to express yourself without using the word whatever. Preston advises the reader to first tackle the affirmations for yourself, then pass them on to others. Some of my favorite or most interesting letters of the alphabet described in the book are those that deal with social, spiritual, economical, work ethics, love, and the self. For example, Preston describes N for Name, and advises to call people by their names, then adds an explanation stating how “people are so much more responsive when you call them by their names.” Preston uses G for Give and explains “give to yourself and to others” urging the reader to create more comfortable surroundings.
The spiritual take on the book includes L for listening to the universe and M for Meditate. Both help the reader become in tune with themselves. From an economical perspective, Preston describes the importance of life through S for saving and J for Jettison, or letting go of all the material possessions you don’t need. For her work ethic advice, Preston describes O for own, and tells the reader to own a task and see through its completion, even if it’s small.
When working on yourself and others, Preston proposes to first have love, in a sense of dealing with respect. She uses E to Embrace who you are, and encourages reading, labeled under R, and exercise labeled under Workout. With the help from many of these affirmations, Preston’s optimistic intent is understood as she uses various popular culture and  media references.

Preston uses Media influences to help create an optimistic mindset with Instances of Whatever in the media that possibly helped shape society. The movie Clueless, popular 90’s movie of a California valley girl, although not mentioned in the book, comes to mind because the audience can tell the character’s emotional ride as a teenager is being covered by the simple use of whatever accompanied by an eyeroll. Preston stresses the importance of social interaction and its effect on your emotions.  The way you choose to communicate with another person shows a lot about your character. The more you use apathetic communication the more confused emotions build up inside and can possibly ruin relationships.

When asked about her use of the word whatever and if there was another way to express it, Melissa Rivas replied, “I don’t think so, it’s [whatever] such a natural word to say, it goes with any situation.”

Bianca Castrejon commented on why some teens use the word by stating, “maybe they have something else to say when they want to seem indifferent.”

Getting Beyond Whatever helps the reader create tools to better their self-esteem and widen their relationships with others. The introduction states, “The kindest thing that we can do for ourselves and by extension others is to think and speak words which are positive and life enhancing.” There are many ways to get out of a slump, and the first is to work out is how you see yourself and relate it to the way you see the world.

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