**spoiler alert** I really wanted to like this novel, and in some respects, I very much did. In the end though, I think the main character missed the**spoiler alert** I really wanted to like this novel, and in some respects, I very much did. In the end though, I think the main character missed the point -- or at least subscribed to a worldview with which I can't agree. Even the cursory comparison to Dorian Gray at the end soured things for me, since that is a novel about beauty, its definition and its purpose. I wanted Nanette to learn to see beauty everywhere and in everyone. And perhaps that's something she'll find when she does leave that ocean. However, her worldview that she alone is unique and weird and strange and that everyone in her life, all 20,000 people, are simpletons who just don't get it, is unfortunate. Nanette never seemed to connect her curiosity to any real people, only to the characters of Bubblegum Reaper and their quasi-real-life counterparts. Curiosity is the key to finding out that everyone is weird in their own way; and I felt that, even if Nanette was perhaps too young and too 18-years-old to see that, the theme was absent from the resolution of the novel. Mr. Quick's work has often touched on misfits finding each other, but here it felt like something was being worked through without ever seeing a resolution. It reminded me of James Joyce's short stories -- where the characters are always on the verge of an epiphany, but sadly return to their normal lives, sadder for having been so close....more
If I could divide my reviews into "information presented" vs "how information is presented," you'd see two different scores. While Dr. Sax offers soliIf I could divide my reviews into "information presented" vs "how information is presented," you'd see two different scores. While Dr. Sax offers solid advice on how to parent (not exactly reinventing the wheel so much as reminding us about the existence of the wheel), the way in which it is presented is, quite frankly, very cynical and borderline insulting to an entire generation of parents & children. I found Sax's judgmental tone extremely off-putting, and while I can stand behind the principles he advocates (empathy, self-control), I found myself skeptical about his specific behavioral recommendations, in large part because they were tiny slices of advice sandwiched in between so many anecdotes about inferior parents (according to Dr. Sax).
For me, the constructive takeaway from The Collapse of Parenting can be boiled down into a treatise about half the size of Michael Pollan's Food Rules. The highlights:
Be wary of medicating children; focus on sleep and behavior and save prescriptions as a last resort (good advice for adults too).
Teach empathy (little advice on how to actually do this, but research not mentioned in the book suggests cultivating a love of reading and literature as an excellent first step).
Teach self-control (again, little practical advice, but when combined with some of what I gleaned from Bringing Up Bébé, create a strict framework that reflects family and cultural values, and within that framework let them have their freedoms).
Limit and monitor use of devices and social media (again, good advice for adults too, though I think the level must vary from child to child).
Be wary of any activity (or person, I'd add) who begins to take up the majority of your child's time/energy. Instead, encourage a variety of activities and interactions (another good way to teach empathy).
And lastly, spend time having fun with your kids, without trying to "be productive." That's probably the best and arguably most important advice in the entire book. That alone might solve a lot of other problems....more