Book Review: Bringing Up Bébé

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

by Pamela Druckerman.

Bringing Up Bebe I’d seen mention of this book around the blogosphere for awhile, but had never picked it up. Between my penchant for fiction and not having or really being around many kiddos, it didn’t seem super relevant. But now, with impending aunt-hood, and more importantly potential motherhood in the semi-near future, it felt like a good time to finally read it.

This was a fascinating read. The author moved to Paris from New York and when she became pregnant, started taking note of parenting practices and resources around her in France. She couldn’t help but be struck by the vivid contrast between how American children and mothers behave, and how French children and mothers behave. So she set about learning the ‘secrets’ of French parenting, and trying those methods with her own children. Even the ideas she was skeptical about. And lo and behold, most of them work like a charm.

She covers everything from the French outlook on pregnancy and motherhood, to getting infants to sleep, to child care, to teaching kids manners and behavior, to getting kids to eat, etc. For each subject, she combines her own observations with interviews of French women and families, experts, and references to various studies, and then the results of how it went when tried with her own children, including any misgivings or hiccups. It is an entertaining and compelling read that is still full of useful information. I not only thoroughly enjoyed reading it, but it’s given me many new ideas to consider regarding parenting.

Some Americans might say that the tips in the book are common sense and practiced here, too. And I’m sure there are cases where that is true. But by and large, American children are unruly little tyrants, and American moms tired, harried messes. So clearly something is getting missed.

I, for one, would much prefer to have a kid who slept through the night by 3 months old, behaved politely in public, and didn’t kick up a fuss at meal time. And to maintain my status as a woman with my own interests (and time to pursue them!), not just a mother. When motherhood rolls around for me, I plan on referring back to this book and the French parenting mindset often.

I give it 4.5/5 stars.

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Bringing Up Bebe

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Book vs. Movie: Wild

Time for another Book vs. Movie! This time it’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, a memoir by Cheryl Strayed. It was the pick for our book club this month, and last night we all went out to see the movie adaptation in theater together. It’s non-fiction, but doesn’t read like it, thankfully. It tells the story of 20-something Cheryl, whose mother’s death from cancer sends her life into a tailspin. To pull herself out of it, she impulsively decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. She picks out a section over 1,000 miles long and […]

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Book Review: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson (aka. The Bloggess). I’ve been a long-time reader of Lawson’s blog, The Bloggess, and I finally got around to picking up her book. And if you like the humor and writing on her blog, you’ll like the book, because it’s more of the same, just expanded and somewhat organized. Lawson takes us, in her own unique storytelling style, from her childhood growing up in rural Texas with an eccentric taxidermist for a father, through the trials of marriage and motherhood and generally being an adult. Some of the […]

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Book Review: Quiet

Quiet The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain I’ve mentioned more than once on this blog that I am undeniably an introvert. So naturally, the title of this book piqued my interest. And it did prove an interesting read. Above all, it was a validating read. Introverts everywhere, you need to read this. It explains so much about why we are the way we are! Extroverts everywhere also need to read this, just so they stop treating introverts like there’s something wrong with us or we’re inherently unsocial. It’s a lot more complicated […]

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Book Review: The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin Ok, I’ll be honest: I don’t read much non-fiction, because I find most of it to be incredibly dull to read. And recently my standard for enjoyable non-fiction has been MWF Seeking BFF, because it was just funny and relatable, while also being motivating and useful. Sadly, while The Happiness Project was interesting and followed a similar one-year-quest formula, I didn’t really find it enjoyable. In fact, I struggled over […]

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Book Review: MWF Seeking BFF

MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche Rachel Bertsche realized after a few years in a new city (Chicago) that she was missing an important element in her social life: a best friend. More importantly, a local best friend, since her other best friends were left behind on the east coast when she moved. But with not being single, not being in school and not being particularly religious, she had no idea how to go about finding potential friends. Or how to grow the friendship into something meaningful once she had found them. So she set out on a year-long quest […]

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