Book Discussion: Bringing up Bebe

I hope you enjoy this repost from last summer.
I think there’s still a valid discussion surrounding this book
(including how French women lag behind American women who lag behind American men).
Let’s discuss, OK?
Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman | A book discussion on The 1000th Voice Blog

Druckerman’s Bringing Up Bebe made a splash last winter before it had even hit the shelves at bookstores. The book stirred up controversy by promising to show American mothers just how much better French mothers do it. The book wasn’t as anti-American as it was portrayed, but it was still a very entertaining read.

Druckerman’s PR folks decided to pull out all the stops by casting their lot in with Amy Chua of Tiger Mother fame. Chua’s advanced praise received the top spot on the back cover. (Spot two went to French Women Don’t Get Fat author Mireille Guiliano.) If the two of them combined isn’t enough, Chua “couldn’t put Bringing up Bebe down” and “love[s] Pamela Druckerman’s premise that parents of all cultures should be able to learn from one another.” While true, it’s laughable coming from someone whose notoriety is based on her disdain for Western mothers.

This book wasn’t a how to to French parenting but a memoir of Druckerman’s struggle to be a good mom and fit in with the French mothers who surrounded her.

Unsurprisingly, French babies are better eaters and sleepers than American babies. Dr. Michel Cohen, author of the New Basics and a French doctor transplanted in Tribeca, recommends that parents pause before responding to their crying newborns. He says this gives the infant a chance to self soothe and sets them up for successful sleep. In The Happiest Toddler on the Block, Dr. Harvey Karp makes the same recommendation to teach toddlers patience.

As far as eating is concerned, French infants eat four times a day by two to three months old. This schedule encourages good eating habits. As they age, French children are introduced to a world of wonderful foods, which they eat and enjoy. French mothers know they have to keep trying to get their kids to eat new foods.

I was fascinated by all the government-paid perks that French women get, including perineal retraining and subsidized daycare. Thanks to that subsidized daycare, very few Parisenne women stay at home. Despite that, French women lag behind American women in some major regards including:

  • a larger earnings gap between men and women,
  • fewer women in the legislature and heading larger corporations, and
  • French women spend 89% more time doing household work and caring for their children than men do.

According to Druckerman, an indication of rampant sexism in France is that post partum perineal retraining is often used to keep French husbands satisfied, not to help women. I do think the government benefits parents receive might help French mothers feel better about the discrepanices.

In the end, I can conclude that Chua was right, using tips from other cultures can be good for us as parents. I think that does neeed to go both ways; Western mothers aren’t all overindulgent and sometimes we do say no to our children.

What do you think of this book? Do you have any thoughts on the discrepancy between American women and French women?

Weekly Reads: 6.17.13

in which I share my planned reading for the week ahead

How was your weekend? I wanted my husband to have a really fun father’s day. He hasn’t gone fishing yet this summer, but he insisted on doing yard work. We got a bunch done, but, man, I’m sore!

Over the weekend, I started this fun book

We'll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down by Rachael Hanel

We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down
By Rachael Hanel

It’s definitely shaping up to be the interesting read I was hoping for. I can’t wait for my lunch break today to read some more!

What are you reading this week? Anything fun? Do you have a favorite memoir?

**Linked up with Book Journey**

Book Review: How Did You Get This Number

How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley

How Did You Get This Number
By Sloane Crosley

Time certainly flies. I realized when I set my schedule for book reviews last week that I hadn’t reviewed this book and I read it it February/March!

Review

I’ve had Sloane Crosley on my to read list for quite a while now. Actually, she’s been on my list from about the time she became the voice of her (my) generation. I’m glad I finally picked up one of her books because it was a really entertaining read.

Sloane Crosley | How Did You Get This Number

While it was entertaining, I don’t agree with the title of “voice of a generation.” Depending upon where you look, Lena Dunham currently has the title. While I find her entertaining and do identify with some of what she writes, there’s obviously no way one person can really be the voice of an entire generation. That seems to open them up to more criticism than they deserve. After all, Lena and Sloane didn’t give themselves the title.

Rating

Sloane Crosley | How Did You Get This Number

Writing 4 out of 5 stars

Crosley is a strong writer. She clearly tells her stories in a funny and engaging way.Sl

Storytelling 4 out of 5 stars

Like I said, her stories are clear, concise, funny and engaging.

Character Development 4 out of 5 stars

Crosley was the main character throughout her essays. Obviously, she was clearly developed, but I felt that the secondary characters were as well.

Cultural Impact 3 out of 5 stars

Crosley’s first essay collection, I Was Told There’d Be Cake, was her big splash when she was crowned with the voice of a generation title. I would say that book had a larger cultural impact than this one. But Crosley is going to stick around for awhile, and plenty of people will go back to read all of her work.

Total 3.75 out of 5 stars

Have you read any of Crosley’s work? What were your thoughts? Do you have a favorite essayist or collection of essays?

To read more of my thoughts, follow me on Twitter. For more book reviews, books I’ve read and books I want to read, find me on Goodreads. Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest to see all the craft and home decor projects I’ll probably never do and some cool book and social media pins. And of course, If you like what I have to say, like or follow my blog through e-mail. Sign up is on the right!

Weekly Reads: 6.9.2013

in which I share my planned reading for the week ahead

Well, well, well. Another week of reading lies ahead of us. Are you excited? I sure am!

First, I’m finishing up

On the Way Home by Laura Ingalls WilderOn the Way Home
By Laura Ingalls Wilder

On the Way Home, a diary Laura kept during their move from DeSmet, SD to Mansfield, MO, is an odd little book for multiple reasons. I’ll share my insights next month during my “A Little About Laura” blog series.

Then I’ll pick up

A Little House Reader by Laura Ingalls Wilder A Little House Reader
A Collection of Writings by Laura Ingalls Wilder

By this weekend, I’ll be reading

We'll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down

We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down
By Rachael Hanel

What are you reading this weekend? I hope you have a great week of reading!

**Linked up with Book Journey**

Audiobook Review: The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls | Audiobook Review | The 1000th Voice Blog

The Glass Castle
By Jeannette Walls
Read By Julia Gibson

I wanted to sit on this book for a while, to ruminate on it, to let the words and stories really steep in my mind. But I decided that wasn’t a very good idea because I at once loved and hated this book. The more I ruminate and gather my thoughts on this book, the more my thoughts will go down the rabbit hole of mental illness and alcoholism that so exemplified Walls’ childhood.

Review

Walls’ writing and storytelling are phenomenal. Her childhood, though, was atrocious. The combination of the two made for an audiobook that I hated to stop listening to but sometimes needed a break from. You see, Walls’ parents were terrible. Her mother snooty despite the lack of food on the table, acceptable clothing on her children and lack of roof over their head. She was selfish, but most of all she was weak. She was too weak to take the kids and leave her no-good, alcoholic husband. She was too weak to stand up to her own issues of selfishness and immaturity. Too weak to keep a job. And let’s not even get into her sympathy for her daughter’s molester.

But as much as I disliked her mother, I definitely hated her father. I hated him for not holding down a job, for not providing for his children, for being a worthless drunk.

The Wisdom of Rex Walls | The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls | The 1000th Voice BlogIn general, not bad advice, but it was said while
teaching Jeannette to swim. Rex’s method?

Throwing her into the center of a deep, dirty pond.

I could go on and on about all the reasons I hate Walls’ parents but I’d rather use this space to point out all the great things about this book.

First and foremost, what I loved about this book was Walls’ ability to tell the story, to paint the picture of her childhood. I found the stories she told–both good and bad–to be very engaging, lively, and easily understood. Her clear, forthright writing really moved the story along. She doesn’t spend time dwelling on the bad parts other than to share what happened.

I loved how the book started and ended with fire, particularly the turbulent area at the tip of the flame. In both instances, the fire symbolizes a rampage that was coming, and specifically Rex Walls. If he’d only been contained, if he hadn’t been allowed to burn free, maybe Jeannette’s life would have been better. Althought the fire at the end was more refined, the flame of the candle burning on the reunited family’s Thanksgiving dinner table, I think it symbolized more turbulence to come in Jeannette’s life, not by something she’s done, but by the return of her sister.

Author Jeannette Walls | Audiobook Review: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls | The 1000th Voice Blog

Via

A final high point that I want to metion is that Walls seems to be a remarkable specimen. She doesn’t seem to pity herself or at least didn’t by the time she wrote the book. She’s the shining example of someone who picks herself up by the bootstraps and really becomes somebody. She’s resilient, she’s intelligent, she’s hardworking, she’s inspiring. And, despite negative comments about her looks in the book, she’s beautiful and has great hair!

Voice Talent

Julia_Gibson-5953

Via

This book was superbly read by Julia Gibson. Gibson excellently portrayed Walls’ mother’s snobbery. Her pacing and diction were excellent. My one complaint was the voice she used for Walls’ sister Laurie. She made Laurie sound very flat and dumb, neither of which I think describe Laurie based on what Walls actually wrote about her.

Rating

Writing 5 out of 5 stars

In The New York Times review, Francine Prose refers to Walls’ writing style as appealingly unadorned. Her writing isn’t overwrought; it isn’t overly emotional or overly sentimental. I found her writing style very inspiring.

Storytelling 5 out of 5 stars

I generally try not to give anything five stars. As the highest rating, it’s generally hard to reach, but I really believe it’s warranted with this book. Her ability to lay out her unappealing childhood in an appealing way is practically unheard of.

Cultural/Personal Impact 4 out of 5 stars

According to the ever reliable Wikipedia, The Glass Castle spent 261 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, and it’s been optioned for film by Paramount. (Word is Jennifer Lawrence will star in it. I find this interesting because the book begins when she is three and ends when she’s in her 30s.) This book had a big impact on me. As I mentioned the writing was inspiring, but the story will really stick with me.

Total 4.67 out of 5 stars

Have you read or listened to The Glass Castle? What are your thoughts? Did you, too, hate Walls’ parents?

To read more of my thoughts, follow me on Twitter. For more book reviews, books I’ve read and books I want to read, find me on Goodreads. Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest to see all the craft and home decor projects I’ll probably never do and some cool book and social media pins. And of course, If you like what I have to say, like or follow my blog through e-mail. Sign up is on the right!

Book Review: Bossypants

By Tina Fey

To fulfill the humor portion of my 2012 reading challenge, I picked up Tina Fey’s Bossypants. A collection of stories about growing up and growing into her role as boss and the many awkward stages along the way.

I love Tina Fey, and I expected to laugh out loud, cry and possibly pee my pants while reading this. But I didn’t. It was still a really good book, though. Tina has a knack for writing and making herself relatable.

Tina comes off as very human in this book. She bounces from awkward and nervous to empowered in a natural, realistic way. I really hope this is the first of many books from her.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and I highly recommend it to others to read.

Book Review: The Last Lecture

By Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow

With more than 15 million views and more than 64,000 likes on YouTube, Randy Pausch’s last lecture continues to inspire people to achieve their dreams five years later.

 
When Randy stood on the Carnegie Mellon auditorium stage to give his lecture on achieving childhood dreams, he was trying to leave a legacy for his young children. No one, not even Randy or the audience, could have imagined just how lasting his legacy would be.

The Last Lecture was a series presented by Carnegie Mellon in which the speaker ponders his/her death. Although that wouldn’t have been difficult for Randy, a computer science professor and virtual reality geek who was dying of pancreatic cancer, the university had decided to rename the series “Journeys” before offering Randy the slot.

In this small book, Randy strengthens that legacy by recounting his life, how he came to be on the stage that night, and the advice on living he gave to that lecture’s overflowing audience. He wrote a little about death, dying with grace and living while dying.

Great advice and humor are sprinkled throughout the book and the lecture. Randy used the humor to grant levity and avoid pity. As he said during his lecture after proving that he was in great shape by doing push ups, if anyone wanted to pity him they could come on stage, do a push up, and then pity him. He was happy. It’s all he knew how to be. He was a Tigger, not an Eeyore.
The book while short, is chock full of inspiration and provides many thought provoking points throughout. I highly recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t read it yet.
 
Randy Pausch passed away July 25, 2008 at his home. He lived five months longer than the three to six months his doctor had given him. He was survived by his wife, Jai, and three children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe. Representative of his legacy, his obituary was published in the New York Times.

Book Review: Bringing Up Bebe

Druckerman’s Bringing Up Bebe made a splash last winter before it had even hit the shelves at bookstores. The book stirred up controversy by promising to show American mothers just how much better French mothers do it. The book wasn’t as anti-American as it was portrayed, but it was still a very entertaining read.

Druckerman’s PR folks decided to pull out all the stops by casting their lot in with Amy Chua of Tiger Mother fame. Chua’s advanced praise received the top spot on the back cover. (Spot two went to French Women Don’t Get Fat author Mireille Guiliano.) If the two of them combined isn’t enough, Chua “couldn’t put Bringing up Bebe down” and “love[s] Pamela Druckerman’s premise that parents of all cultures should be able to learn from one another.” While true, it’s laughable coming from someone whose notoriety is based on her disdain for Western mothers.

This book wasn’t a how to to French parenting but a memoir of Druckerman’s struggle to be a good mom and fit in with the French mothers who surrounded her.

Unsurprisingly, French babies are better eaters and sleepers than American babies. Dr. Michel Cohen, author of the New Basics and a French doctor transplanted in Tribeca, recommends that parents pause before responding to their crying newborns. He says this gives the infant a chance to self soothe and sets them up for successful sleep. In The Happiest Toddler on the Block, Dr. Harvey Karp makes the same recommendation to teach toddlers patience.

As far as eating is concerned, French infants eat four times a day by two to three months old. This schedule encourages good eating habits. As they age, French children are introduced to a world of wonderful foods, which they eat and enjoy. French mothers know they have to keep trying to get their kids to eat new foods.

I was fascinated by all the government-paid perks that French women get, incluidng perineal retraining and subsidized daycare. Thanks to that subsidized daycare, very few Parisenne women stay at home. Despite that, French women lag behind American women in some major regards including:

  • a larger earnings gap between men and women,
  • fewer women in the legislature and heading larger corporations, and
  • French women spend 89% more time doing household work and caring for their children than men do.

According to Druckerman, an indication of rampant sexism in France is that post partum perineal retraining is often used to keep French husbands satisfied, not to help women. I do think the government benefits parents receive might help French mothers feel better about the discrepanices.

In the end, I can conclude that Chua was right, using tips from other cultures can be good for us as parents. I think that does neeed to go both ways; Western mothers aren’t all overindulgent and sometimes we do say no to our children.

Do you have any thoughts on this book?