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What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman
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What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  287 ratings  ·  68 reviews
What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us. To put things simply: If women today were happy, "Ally McBeal" would not be such a huge TV hit a television phenomenon that not only provokes endless discussion nationwide but also has the distinction of mention in a Time Magazine cover story addressing the state of feminism.

The anxiety-riddled character "Ally McBeal" has tapped into somet

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Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 7th 2000 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 1999)
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Domestic Tranquility by F. Carolyn GragliaHow to Choose a Husband by Suzanne VenkerThe Flipside of Feminism by Suzanne VenkerFeminist Fantasies by Phyllis SchlaflyManning Up by Kay S. Hymowitz
Conservative Women's Books
12th out of 13 books — 1 voter
Why Men Marry Bitches by Sherry ArgovWhy Men Love Bitches by Sherry Argov7 Myths of Working Mothers by Suzanne VenkerWhat Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us by Danielle CrittendenA Return to Modesty by Wendy Shalit
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4th out of 28 books — 3 voters


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Community Reviews

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Emily
I'm a bit conflicted about how to rate this book. The author irritated me frequently with her broad, sweeping statements, single-minded approach, and lack of documentation, and though I agree with several of her assertions, I disagree with plenty she said, too.

First of all, everything in this book seemed to boil down to "sexual power." Everything. Women shouldn't put off trying to find a mate when they're young and attractive because it's not always going to be so easy and you'll get older and s
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Kate
The camera zooms in on Donna Reed standing by the door fixing her hair just before opening it for her adoring husband. Dr. Reed enters and is greeted with a kiss by his doting wife.
If Danielle Crittenden has her way, women will soon begin to revert back to the days of Donna Reed. She does not seem to understand that today's Technicolor world has little room for the stifling ideals of the black-and-white, Daddy Knows Best '50s.

In What Our Mother's Didn't Tell Us, Crittenden makes good points on b
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Elise
This book was published in 1999 so it's over a decade now, but I was completely captured by it - couldn't put it down. I've read a few other reviews of the books, and it seems to be either praised by right-wing conservative religious women or slammed by liberal working secular women....but to me it was actually a happy moderate in between the two. Granted she makes a few points that are absolutely conservative to a T, but the main take-away from her writings is that feminism is meant to give wom ...more
Kaethe
Jul 17, 2014 Kaethe marked it as stricken  ·  review of another edition
Another book that blames individual women and feminists collectively for all the problems of modern society, by an author who seems to believe that women who reach 35 unwed will be miserable forever.
Mattaca Warnick
Jul 24, 2007 Mattaca Warnick rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: liberals
Though Crittendon can belabor her points, the arguments she makes are so quickly dismissed in our day that they need a little hammering home. Nothing revolutionary here; this is 1950s morality speaking and it rings true. After decades of striving for that which we can't obtain, Crittenton convincingly argues that maybe previous generations weren't so clueless after all.
Merrilee
Feb 27, 2008 Merrilee rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Merrilee by: jen prokerhov
my FAVORITE book on feminism...and why it's not all that it's cracked up to be. I would recommend this to ALL females and males.
Yellow Rose
This book I am using for my research and although it is very mellow for my taste because I believe women should be in the home and not seeking out careers. This author actually doesn't say right of the bat that careers are bad for women.

Happiness does allude the modern woman as the title says it all and this is because of feminism. Feminism has destroyed society and the relations between men and women. Men and women are not the same men do not have the same biological pull to protect their child
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Dani
I wish Crittenden had written two books -- one as a collection of her overwrought and hyperbolic metaphors, and another comprising only her spot-on observations about the impossible double standard that is modern (1990s, anyway) feminism.

She is dead right in most all her conclusions, and I was thrilled to find someone who could articulate my feelings so well. Unfortunately, her often in-your-face writing style and --really, this is what bugged me-- her ridiculous metaphors undermined her argumen
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Mara
I found this to be a very interesting and eye-opening read. I had formed some of the beliefs Crittenden states prior to reading this book, but it really helped cement my own thoughts on marriage and children. I appreciate the unique points she states throughout the book, but Crittenden seems to rely more on anecdotes rather than facts and/or statistics.

Although I agree with most of what she writes, she fails to come up with valid solutions to our current "problems." (A large problem being that
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Marnie
Mar 14, 2008 Marnie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: young women
This book was really good. It had a lot of really good points. I totally agreed with her about how women should appreciate & embrace their femininity & not try to be like guys so they can be "equal." Women & men are different & there are some things that women in general do better than men, & vice versa, & being a wife & mother is just as good as being the head of a company. If you want more detail read the book. It was really nice to read a book about women's happine ...more
Princess Kristin
I largely agree with many of the author's overarching points, but this books has a lot of issues which would preclude me from recommending it to others.

Crittenden isn't wrong that feminism sold women a utopic vision of working mother bliss that is reality for very few. But, she bases the book under the false assumption that equality has already been achieved. And, she says some horrifying things about date rape and domestic abuse.

I found myself agreeing one minute and ready to pitch the book a
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Rebecca Newman
Excellent book. It speaks out against all the ways in which womens' lib and feminism has negatively affected our society. Womens' libbers and feminists want what they want without thinking about how it affects those around themselves- or perhaps thinking wholly about how it affects those around them. Women like to see the good affects but do not consider any of the less desirable affects. Like putting off children when your body is most capable and then finding yourself struggling with fertility ...more
Patrick
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alanwalter
I had to read this for an American radical thought class in college, it completely revolutionized my view of the feminist movement. The book essentially is about how the feminist movement in many respects has remained unresolved and had created several issues that don't even get discussed. The book is fairly anti-climatic and doesn't resolve much but is an extremely thought provoking work on the fallout of the feminist movement.
Kareen Warnick
Nice to know people outside of us backward hicks in fly over country support moms being Moms and can see the negative impact modern feminism has had on the lives of women.
Erin
This book is awesome. It talks about why the feminist movement was not such a good thing and how it has aided in the loss of values in our culture.
Elissa
Sorry guys, really did not like this one. I'll leave it at that until the book club.
Elise
I couldn't finish it. After being told that when I cash my paycheck, I don't have to worry about making less money than a man (merely days after seeing a report on Chronicle of Higher Education that refutes this claim with actual numbers), I was skeptical. After being told my husband doesn't help around the house and I am stuck raising our child, I was angry. After being told that the downfall of society was caused by sex ed in schools, I had to stop.

When I purchased this book, I was under the i
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sleeps9hours
So much to talk about!!! This would be a great book to discuss in a book club, especially of women knew each other well and could discuss heated topics. I certainly didn’t agree with all Crittenden suggested, but at other times I thought she was right on. I liked the issues she brought up more than her own ideas of how to solve them. Illustrates the unhappiness that can ensue when independence is valued above all else, even if it is our connections to others (partner, children) that bring us the ...more
Jed Park
An attempt at an honest assessment of the shortcomings of feminism

I agree with the author's evaluation of the feminist movement, but it is always easier to describe what is wrong with society rather than put forth valid solutions. I think as men and women we must all value the raising of the next-generation more than we currently do. We must realize we all have to sacrifice tremendously in order to raise children who can navigate the choppy seas of modernity.
Ashley Eastwood
An interesting look at women in the post-feminist era and dealing with many tough questions that many do not really want to face. I thought her assessments were spot on in many areas. I really devoured this book, finding it hard to put it down.

As a Christian I also particularly enjoyed this book because the author (not intentionally) sees the role of woman in a biblical framework. I found it interesting that she came to such conclusions through her study and reflection in this area.
Cindy James
This book is fabulous!!! It really lays out the fruit of the feminist movement. What is interesting to me is that this author does not appear to come from a Christian perspective. This makes it all the more interesting. All the book lacks is the Biblical outline for womanhood that would bear and does bear amazing fruit(i.e Queen of the Home or The Excellent Wife). It is a must have for the library. I highly recommend this book as a part of a overall Biblical understanding of the fruit of feminis ...more
Karen
I really enjoyed this one, although I'm fairly sure it wouldn't persuade someone who didn't already agree, at least partially, with many of her points.
Janelle
Apr 27, 2008 Janelle rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all women
What does it mean to be a modern women? If it okay to stay at home with children? What if you want to but can't? Is it okay to want to work? What if you don't want children at all?

The author has her own opinions, and the book doesn't provide clear answers, but it raises the questions and opens up the discussion. I think this is a great book for a reading group to tackle. It helps to show that there isn't any right answer, and there are pros and cons to any decision we make. It reminded me that
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Eric
Should be required reading for every high school senior woman (and maybe men) - a fresh approach for how to look at feminist issues
G--
This anti-feminist screed for the upper-middle class woman has some salient points--however none that haven't been made elsewhere, often better: namely, that promiscuity is a dead end for women, that too-long delayed marriage may mean no marriage, and that 2nd wave feminism didn't recognize the importance of motherhood to a woman's happiness. It's written to an audience I don't recognize: super-successful women who delay marriage and childbearing too long. Perhaps there is such a demographic; it ...more
Peg
Read in 2000. See Emily's review. I couldn't relate to many of the author's premises. The idea that women should marry young while the pool of available men is wide was particularly offensive. Hardens back to the days when women were supposed to seek a Mrs. over a legitimate degree when in college.
Alex
Anti-feminist rant that assumes a few facts not in evidence. The author has clearly been persuaded by the "biology is destiny" crowd, but even more so by her own experience, which she rather arrogantly imposes on everyone else. Some solid criticisms of feminism are drowned out by the author's reliance on anti-feminist standbys: blaming women for what men do, over romanticizing the 1950s nuclear family, and sentimentalizing motherhood. This book won't tell you much unless you share the author's t ...more
Manda
I tried to read this book all the way through, but her blanket statements and assumptions were just too much for me to handle. It wasn't that I disagreed with all of what she was saying. Sure, there were parts of it that I found to be valid... but I found the book to be written from a very small scope.
Krishna
A very interesting book on the plight of some women post feminism. While many of her points are valid, there are also counter arguments. The main gist should be change takes time, and that change require acceptance from all parties i.e. men and women. And sometimes while Feminism has many good and correct view points, some radical views are impractical and perhaps require a more gradual change than the more dramatic change that they expect.
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“By spending years and years living entirely for yourself, thinking only about yourself, and having responsibility to no one but yourself, you end up inadvertently extending the introverted existence of a teenager deep into middle age.” 2 likes
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