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American Parent: My Strange and Surprising Adventures in Modern Babyland
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American Parent: My Strange and Surprising Adventures in Modern Babyland

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  104 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Part memoir, part journalism, part history, part downright strange and hilarious, American Parent takes readers on a unique tour of the world of new mothers and fathers. As Sam Apple embarks on his own journey into parenthood, he decides to put his background in journalism to good use by talking to a wide range of experts. Along the way, Apple visits with the mohel who ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Ballantine Books (first published 2009)
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Sep 24, 2011 Meg rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
As a new-ish mom with a degree in early childhood education, a former labor and delivery nurse, current OB/Gyn-prenatal nurse, and an all-around smart-ass, I emphatically endorse everything in this book. Sam Apple is hilarious but at the same time smart, educated, and well informed when it comes to the most frequently discussed topics during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and new parenthood- unsolicited advice, crazy birthing class instructors, scary c-section statistics, Ferber versus Sears, Dr. ...more
Jan 18, 2012 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I *loved* this book, and I feel very thankful to be able to interview the author, Sam Apple, for my Maternity Ward blog next week! I'll share our conversation on Tuesday, February 7, at

"American Parent" features a mix of thoughtful memoir and well-researched journalism. In addition, it offers a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. Sam Apple is a very talented, engaging and witty writer.

Some of my favorite quotes:

“I don’t think I could already have been in love,
Apr 24, 2010 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
Really enjoying this book - I have read many, many parenting books but this one has angles I haven't explored yet. And Apple's writing makes me literally laugh out loud sometimes.

Quote, p. 282, talking about the relationship between a parent and a child: "The different way to think about it is that it's like a marriage." [Alison:] Gopnik continued, "Like a deep relationship with another person. You do have a sense of what makes a marriage go well or what doesn't make a marriage go well. You have
Nov 27, 2012 Anna rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
Thankfully, American Parent: My Strange and Surprising Adventures in Modern Babyland has much more substance than Home Game, although its flaws might actually tend in the other direction: I now know much more than I ever wanted to about 19th century psychological and physiological theories. Written by journalist Sam Apple, this memoir of a first-time father's exploration of the "baby industrial complex" is both hilarious and occasionally moving. Apple investigates the booming market for baby ...more
Nov 21, 2011 Roxanne rated it really liked it
I really, really enjoyed this. Apple has a wry sense of humor and isn't above humiliating himself in his writing (or his parenting), so he's a lot of fun to read. The first half of the book describes Apple's wife's pregnancy; the second half, the first months of his son's life. Apple is able to integrate his personal story seamlessly with the research he's done on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting, and, of course, all the endless baby products new parents have to contend with. If you like A.J. ...more
Crystal Caldwell
Apr 13, 2012 Crystal Caldwell rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
I thought it was a very well informative book. I had expected a light read, but was pleasantly surprised with how the book actually turned out. It was very informative on things I never would have even thought to learn about, such as the history of waterbirths or Lamaze. Alot of really good information, backed by strong research. Of course he could have made everything in the book up and I wouldn't know the difference, but it felt like really in-depth research as I was reading...

I would definite
Oct 28, 2014 Sky rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! This is hands down one of my favorite books on parenting! I love that it is written from a man's point of view and has a ton of humor. You can learn a lot from this book as far as psychology and things like that in an interesting way, which was pretty awesome. I love how he tested baby products himself as well. This is a very informative and good book! I recommend every parent read it. It isn't very biased and gives you a ton of information without telling you how ...more
Oct 06, 2009 Apoorva rated it liked it
I probably would have enjoyed this book a bit more if the writer weren't so self-involved. Other readers have said he's funny, but I found his humor outlandish and not particularly funny. Reminded me of the lame jokes people made in college (where his story begins). But when he stops indulging himself and digs up dirt on the "baby industrial complex", he's more interesting. There are some entertaining bits on the history of various practices (Lamaze, for example), or how the trend in ...more
Oct 21, 2009 Jenna rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
Apple is funny, self-deprecating, curious and totally Jewish - four traits I love in an essayist. For some reason - despite being unmarried and childless, with no intentions of getting in the baby-making business any time soon - I'm drawn to books about parenthood, both memoir and general non-fiction. Some (Anne Lamott) are better than others (Rebecca Woolf), but they all share the same basic "holy shit what do I do now/isn't this amazing" ethos that I find so interesting. Plus, based on the ...more
Beth G.
Jan 17, 2010 Beth G. rated it really liked it
In the course of this memoir of his wife's pregnancy and the first few months of his son's life, Apple explores the rise of "the baby-industrial complex", that still-growing market of toys, educational videos, and parenting strategies. From HypnoBirthing to Baby Einstein, from circumcision to Attachment Parenting, Apple digs up the history and trivia of the big issues facing modern-day parents. Don't expect a thorough historical survey, though, this is definitely the story of one man's ...more
Sep 12, 2009 Elyssa rated it liked it
I have probably read too many parenting books at this point. This book felt like a blend of three books I read prior to this: Alternadad, Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born, and Parenting Inc. Therefore, I was already familiar with most of the facts presented by the author, but he is so likable that I didn't mind reading his version as well as his unique personal experiences as a first time father.
Mar 28, 2010 Eileen rated it it was ok
Probably would have enjoyed it more if I had read it before I had my daughter or when she was younger. Much of it doesn't really apply to a one year old. I enjoyed reading some of the history of birthing techniques and some of the theory of parenting. Could definitely relate to spending enough time in Barnes and Noble that he thought he'd have to start paying rent... I am there all the time. The things we do to fill our days with young children..
Aug 03, 2009 Julie rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a really good overview of baby research, marketing, myths, etc. It just took me so long to read it. I'm not a good non-fiction reader, but my husband and I wanted to read the same book so we could discuss it.

Parts of this were really funny! I hadn't expected that. It just wasn't a must-read/can't put it down sort of book.
Jun 20, 2016 Jen rated it did not like it
Shelves: already-read, baby
I barely managed to finish this book, and length had nothing to do with it. I did not find it funny, intriguing or all-that-interesting. A few stories/personal anecdotes were okay, but overall, I would definitely recommend passing on this one.
Nov 11, 2011 Kris rated it really liked it
great read for dad and dads-to-be. i read this while my wife was pregnant with our first child. if AJ Jacobs and Malcolm Gladwell got together to write a book about babies and parenting, it would be this book.
Sep 22, 2012 Stash rated it it was ok
It was ok. A father's viewpoint of pregnancy and the earliest months of fatherhood. Bill Bryson he tries to be with a little Dave Eggers as well, but he isn't close to being as funny or insightful as either.
Sep 21, 2009 Alison rated it liked it
A funny and informative book if you are having your first child and you live in a place like part slope where hyper-parenting is the norm. I must admit that I didn't quite finish cause I started potty training and could not devote my free time to reading about babies.
Jun 14, 2010 Stefanie rated it really liked it
Great for first time parents. A little too much scientific background, but you can skim if the historical references get boring. Definitely worth a read and makes a great gift.
Mar 15, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
An interesting read, from the father's perspective vs. the mother's. I did find it a bit difficult to relate however, probably because I'm not a father. :-)
Julie Leonard
May 15, 2010 Julie Leonard rated it it was amazing
My favorite book on becoming a parent. It delves into brief historys of attachment parent, lamaze etc and takes a really great no one has the right answer stance on child rearing :)
Sep 18, 2009 Nicky rated it it was ok
I wish there was more personal memoir and less journalism, but I definitely learned a thing or two from this book.
Feb 07, 2011 Jessie rated it it was amazing
Why I decided to use my few precious hours of 'awake when Xavier is asleep' time to read about another person's infant-induced sleep deprivation is beyond me. But this book is absolutely hilarious.
Feb 20, 2010 KeAnne rated it really liked it
Reading this book while home with a newborn was perfect. I chuckled at several parts and agreed with his points.
Feb 26, 2010 Anna rated it really liked it
nothing informative, but well written and it's always entertaining to read about someone else's baby horror stories when you need to take your mind off of yours
Rose rated it it was amazing
Dec 06, 2012
Liz S.
Liz S. rated it it was ok
Mar 12, 2010
Sep 06, 2010 Amber rated it really liked it
Sarah rated it it was ok
Sep 19, 2009
Kate rated it liked it
Sep 14, 2012
Heather rated it liked it
Mar 01, 2016
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