Author: Pamela Druckerman
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Random House Audio
Reader: Abby CradenSource: Library
Date Completed: 5/2012
Rating: 5/5Recommend: yes
I finished this audio book about a month ago, and it was awesome. It's one of those books, I picked up on a whim, and never expected to love it as much as I did. Sometimes when this happens, I put off doing a review for a long while, feeling like I can't possibly give the book a good enough review.
The author was a former Wall Street Journal reporter who after leaving her job, moved to Paris to be with her new love, Simon, a British Journalist. The couple marries and she soon finds out she is pregnant. Being that her first baby will be born and raised in France, she sees herself at a definite disadvantage even before the baby is born. She doesn't ever speak the language well, her family is in the US, and although she has never raised a child, it is already obvious to her early on that French parents do things differently beginning when the infant is only a few months old.
For example, French babies are eased into the family's routine, and the parents do not rush to always pick up the baby when the baby first starts to whimper. Parents believe that by do this early on, teaches little ones to wait, teaching them early on self-discipline, which leads to calmer children later on. The French claim that this helps the babies to "do their nights" (sleep through the night) quicker as well. Very important as most French women who worked before their pregnancy do return to work within a few months after the baby is born.
Another observation by Druckerman was that French toddlers and their parents for that matter, seem calmer and more relaxed. Her observations revealed generally pleasant eating out experiences for parents and child. She notes how, early on young children are eased into the (3) meals a day plus a snack routine. A routine that fits the life of the family. They eat what the parents eat early on, and even seem to enjoy fish, meats and vegetables and other grown up foods that some American children might turn their noses up at. American children are offered many many "choices" according to the French way of thinking. French children are not allowed to snack at random times of the day. Another difference that I was surprised by was the fact that while many American parents are constantly praising their little ones, every time they do something that pleases the parents, French parents are not as generous with their praise, their goal being is to raise calm children, educate them and to teach them how to behave properly.
There were many other observations that made me stop and think as well. I liked this book, because it was not one-sided. It did not depict either American parenting or French parenting to be the best way to raise a child. Parents are encouraged to take hold of their own lives, and by doing so they will raise independent, well-adjusted children. I liked that the author's findings were based on a lot of observation. From child-care settings, schools and even parks and even play times. The story is written in a humorous and engaging manner, that captured my interest early on. You don't have to be a young parent to enjoy this book. The audio reader, Abby Craden did a great job. Loved this one.