Cinderella Ate My Daughter was an entertaining read, but it’s not really a “stick to your ribs” type of nonfiction. Orenstein is a journalist and sheCinderella Ate My Daughter was an entertaining read, but it’s not really a “stick to your ribs” type of nonfiction. Orenstein is a journalist and she writes like one. I generally find that journalists write very accessible and entertaining books that cover a wide shallow pond instead of a deep well. Although I often enjoy that sort of cherry picked light analysis for topics I am just fleetingly interested in, I found it deeply unsatisfying for her subject material. I am concerned about this topic as a new mother of a daughter and disappointed I came away from this book without any worthwhile conclusions.
If I had read this book before having my daughter, I probably would have really liked it and been forgiving. However, now that I have a daughter and worry about what her childhood will be like and what kind of adult she will grow into, I found this book to be disappointing. It may be more my misplaced expectations for anticipating at least a little bit of “how to” advice than any failure on Orenstein’s part but the disappointment lingers. I guess the presentation and title of it don’t explicitly say that it set out to be a parenting guide. But the publicity for this book (I heard and read multiple interviews that positioned it as a guide more than narrative) and Orenstein’s past forays into the topic of raising girls led me to believe that it would be more substantive. I’m not exactly thrilled to learn that there are no easy answers to the issues she discusses in this book.
I read this book (and started writing this review) when my daughter was still in the larval stage. Now she’s almost 2 and showing no real inclination towards anything “girly”. She probably wears more pink and sparkles than I’d like because they’re so prevalent and (ok, I’ll admit it) cute, but she likes her cars and trucks as much as her stuffed animals, has no use for dolls, has never seen a Disney movie (although she does watch other tv) and was decidedly ambivalent about the tutu her aunt bought for her. I know that she is still young and mother-daughter struggles over what is appropriate are probably lying in wait in the bushes further down the parenting path, but I am relieved that so far it’s a non-issue for me. I will continue to quietly donate and return Barbies and Disney Princess items that are given to her while I still have the luxury of it not being a fight. ...more
I've never felt particularly neurotic towards breasts until I read this book. I'm abandoning it about half way through because it's convincing me thatI've never felt particularly neurotic towards breasts until I read this book. I'm abandoning it about half way through because it's convincing me that I and everyone I know with breasts will get breast cancer. (Including my daughter who is going to be doubly cursed with cancer AND growing them at age 5). I can't remember another book that has given me so much anxiety. Reading "Lord of the Flies" on a deserted island with three reform middle schools worth of unchaperoned boys wearing rival gang colors would be more relaxing. I don't even know how much I buy all her doom and gloom predictions since one of her big sources is a researcher with the Environmental Working Group and I'm pretty sure most of their conclusions are not based in sound silence but I just can't take anymore of it....more
As I write my review for this novel a month or so after I finished it, I’m rather surprised I managed to finish it. I’ve been suffering from an acuteAs I write my review for this novel a month or so after I finished it, I’m rather surprised I managed to finish it. I’ve been suffering from an acute reading slump this year and have started more books than I’ve finished, very outside my norm. My ability to power through a book I’m not absolutely engrossed in seems to be waning this winter so it’s a bit of an anomaly that I was able to finish this slow moving novel about the plights of modern upper middle class urban motherhood. I didn’t connect particularly to any of the characters and the story itself was not one I relate to outside of also being a mother. I think what made me stick with it was that despite a bit of a dud for a story, Wolitzer’s obvious talent shines through and some passages are so mesmerizingly poignant it almost made up for the plodding pace and relatively unlikable characters. Almost…...more