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The Wonder of Girls: Understanding the Hidden Nature of Our Daughters
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The Wonder of Girls: Understanding the Hidden Nature of Our Daughters

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  284 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
On the heels of his influential bestseller The Wonder of Boys Gurian outlines a groundbreaking and provocative approach to raising girls drawn from state-of-the-art research on biology, hormones, and the female brain.
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 1st 2002 by Atria Books (first published June 1st 2001)
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Jan 16, 2008 Christina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents of girls, anyone seeking to make sense of women
Recommended to Christina by: Cynthia Russell
Shelves: parenting, women
An expert in psychological and neurobiological research, Gurian presents a thouroughly interesting look into the female brain and its growth and development from conception through adulthood. Though written from a very secular perspective (his claims of men's and women's brains evolving into the complicated and distinctly different organs they are today are even more preposterous in light of the miracles of brain development his research reveals) the author, in doing an intense study of God's cr ...more
Aug 06, 2014 Marie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The best part of this book is the straightforward description of female brain chemistry and hormones and how they differ from that of males and affect behavior, moods, relationships, etc. I like that he looks at common adolescent problems through that lens, looking for biological answers rather than simply blaming family and/or culture (e.g. eating disorders aren't necessarily simply about wanting to look like a model). Another highlight was his "womanist" re-reading of the Cinderella fairy tale ...more
Dec 31, 2008 Erika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly helpful as was his The Wonder of Boys. Puts an understanding of the issues related to raising girls (and boys) into so many contexts that one doesn't usually find in this kind of book, including biochemical, genetic, sociological, historical and all the usual. Very useful.
Sep 22, 2008 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents of daughters.
This author was recommended by my sister in law Lisa. It is very insightful. I like that Mr. Gurian encourages good values in parenting and ways to keep our children healthy and happy as they grow- with biological explanations to back things up.
Marjana Simic
Jan 25, 2011 Marjana Simic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
The Wonder of Girls: Understanding the Hidden Nature of Our Daughters by Michael Gurian was recommended to me by a good friend who has read the same book. Since I had a baby girl recently, I was stacking up on worthy parenting books and decided to buy this one after doing some digging on it. The book is filled with controversy where the author talks without boundaries about topics such as sexuality, mental disorders, and differences between male and female. Luckily, I love controversy and the au ...more
Oct 07, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought-provoking and encouraging. I learned a lot about myself and my fellow females and gained new perspective on both parenting a teenage girl and on being a wife and mother. The cycles we go through are dramatic and exhausting, but they're also thrilling and exciting. I love the idea of watching all the emotion flow by like a river sometimes. Just letting the feelings wash by, feeling them and then letting them go, without needing to analyze or react to every one. I like the idea of being a ...more
Sep 14, 2016 Charissa rated it really liked it
I didn't agree with everything Gurian said (e.g., some of the phrasing and discussion regarding sexuality) in this book, but overall I'm very glad I read it. I especially appreciated the reminder of how our hormonal cycles affect our behavior as girls and women, the chapters devoted to mothers and fathers of girls, holding a puberty rite of passage, and the tenets of the "sacred feminine role".
It occurred to me during the reading of this book that it was somewhat ironic that I was reading it at the same time as I was listening to Jack Donovan's "The Way of Men" on audible. Ironies aside, this book has a lot to recommend it. Michael Gurian uses his research into neurobiology endocrinology and multicultural child development, to shed some light on the biological development of girls into women. In doing so he rejects the feminist narrative of predominantly socially determine gender role ...more
Jan 30, 2010 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pretty impressed by this book. Some highlights for me:

* a perspective on girls' hormonal and brain development and how it affects emotions and socialization

* specific age-specific lists of social and emotional changes to expect as daughters develop

* an appreciation that males and females are truly different in important ways, including that females have an intimacy imperative, or need to bond with and nurture others

* specific parenting techniques, including how to deal with daughters' sad
I like this better than his Wonder of Boys... not sure if it's because I'm a woman, or if he's become a better writer in the ~7 years since he wrote Wonder of Boys... but I did think at times while reading the Wonder of Girls that the author should update the Wonder of Boys with 20 years of additional research (not that it would change much of what he says, but there were interesting comparisons between male and female brains in Wonder of Girls that didn't seem to be in Wonder of Boys).

My favori
Sep 08, 2008 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents, women who want to understand their brains better
Shelves: nonfiction
2nd reading: I'm learning more about how my own brain chemistry and hormone cycles affect my day to day. I'm probably learning more about myself than my daughter but I think knowing myself better helps in that department anyway. It really is interesting to learn how body systems affect mood and emotional outlook so I will look for additional information on this subject.

I liked how this author pulls from different disciplines such as biology, sociology and spirituality to draw insights into the d
Aug 22, 2012 Carrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I don't agree with the author's evolutionary points, the science and psychology of girls' brain development and how it affects them at different stages is fascinating. It really opened my eyes to why girls are the way they are at different stages and what they need from us as parents. The scientific facts are presented in an easy-to-read way, especially for someone like myself who does NOT like to read nonfiction science books, and the scientific evidence for the neurological differences b ...more
Apr 10, 2015 Brooke rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I confess to not reading every word of this, but I think he has lots of valuable things to say. The overarching theme is of a womanist philosophy - an alternative to feminist philosophy that does not work from a victim premise but honors the fact that women value being intimately connected with others. I am massively simplifying it. He then uses that lens to look at girl development. It had a lot to offer, but I wasn't ready to be totally absorbed - partly that's not where my head is and partly ...more
Sep 11, 2008 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kim by: Lisa Cox
A detailed look at the Biology of girls. I enjoyed the science but wished the remainder of the book was more concise. It reads like it is written by a therapist (which it is) and some of the stories were hard to relate to. However the information on what a girl needs from mom at different stages was a good reminder for me, a mother of a teenage girl. The author's take on feminism and what he calls womanism is interesting as well I just could have done without some much summarization - made it dr ...more
Jan 02, 2009 Jenn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My daughter will have a roller coaster of emotions because she has hormones and lots of them. Stay clear of any food items that have added hormones because that is the last thing girls need -more hormones.

I didn't learn too much new information from this book, but I think it has more to do with me being a girl and knowing some of the "secrets" already. However, if you are a male, this is worth reading. If anything, you will acquire more patience in your experience with as a father, grandfather,
Jun 24, 2007 Tish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must-read for mothers and fathers and caretakers - and women who want to understand what they went through as children. Simply written, this book illuminates the role biological structures play in how and why girls and women think, feel and act as they do, and what they need to grow into strong and happy women.
Oct 12, 2009 Carolyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
At first I was really fascinated by the nature of this book. I found the science of it really interesting. He completely lost me when he started in about how moms should spend more time with their children than dads. Seemed a bit too self indulgent on Michael's part. After that, I skimmed the rest of the book and was no longer impressed.
Ashley FL
I've had this for years and periodically pull it out again and page through it. This time I actually sat down and read the whole thing.

It is essentially a neurobiology view of raising girls. There are some interesting points, but the basic line is: spend a lot of time with your girls. Oh, and your boys too.

Now you don't have to read it!
Joel Simon
Dec 02, 2007 Joel Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a very good book, especially for dads, to help figure out different ways to connect with and help our daughters through growing up and beyond. It takes a scientific approach to understanding how girls' development is affected by biology, hormones and brain development. This book is not for everyone, but if you are at all scientifically inclined it is fascinating and enlightening.
Dec 29, 2007 Joni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who has a girl in their life
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is all about what's going on with girls from a biological perspective. Both my husband and I found it interesting and possibly something we will want to have on hand as our girls grow older. It seems to make a lot of sense and he has some practical advice too.
Aug 19, 2012 Tonia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I appreciated the first part of the book, I gleaned some rich insights. The second part turned into advise on discipline. I was not looking for guidance of his particular style (coercive, shaming, authoritarian). I did not finish the book.
Nothing in this book was life changing for me but I really agreed with a lot of it. Its always good to spend some time reading and thinking about how you parent your children and understanding girls in particular was helpful.
Apr 04, 2011 Dale rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not sure what to make of Gurian - but I keep reading him anyway. Certainly he provides parents with much to think about. As the father of a daughter, I wanted to read this to get some perspective for raising a girl.
Judy McCarver
Jan 04, 2017 Judy McCarver rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have three daughters of my own, and I read this book and thought it was well written. If you have girls and want to continue to find ways to discover their nature and appreciate them even more, read this book.
Gena Lott
Jun 09, 2015 Gena Lott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A wonderfully insightful book to help parents understand their daughters and women to understand their childhood. Beautifully written by a father and psychologist, Gurian touches on very valid information.
Marianne Mullen
Usually I fly through books like this but I'm not sure what it was about this one that didn't grab me. The author has great information, its well organized, and really shared a lot of insights. Someone I just plugged away and I'm glad I read it but I didn't love it.
Laurie Dewberry
Some parts were very interesting and I learned quite a bit about my girls and myself, for that matter. I appreciated the author's balanced approach on feminism, but did not agree with some of his ideas. Overall a helpful read for a parent of daughters.
double stuff
Apr 12, 2007 double stuff is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any parent with a daughter
Shelves: i-need-help
something I should probably read before "The Wonder of Boys"...Sonita would probably agree!!
Jan 08, 2008 Lily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mothers
Almost as good as the wonder of boys. Still had lots of useful info. He seems more comfortable talking about boys though- he has written about 10 books on boys and just this one on girls!!
Too boring.
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