The basic premise, that you should feed your baby homemade baby food made from organic fruits/grains/vegetables is sound enough. The tips and directioThe basic premise, that you should feed your baby homemade baby food made from organic fruits/grains/vegetables is sound enough. The tips and directions for preparing said fruits and vegetables for baby consumption are also helpful. However, the author clearly has absolutely no qualifications, and is simply writing this overly preachy, at times bordering on ridiculous tome based on her own experiences. Aside from many typos and flat-out mistakes (like putting the registered trademark sign next to saccharin, which is a chemical compound, not a brand name), some of the advice is way over-the-top: "Remember to keep your facial expression pleasant when you are changing your baby's diaper. He will notice any look of disgust on your face, which may teach him that his private parts are repulsive and lead him to believe that sex is "dirty" when he gets older." Wow, that is quite the pop psychology leap. I also remain completely unconvinced by her one paragraph explanation of why you should feed your baby a vegetarian diet, which just includes the usual five environmental/animal welfare/"healthier life" reasons, without anything specifically included for developing babies/toddlers. She highly recommends tofu to be introduced as early as 8-9 months (which is when most babies meet meat). I completely disagree, just based on the fact that I doubt soy's high estrogen content is all that great in large quantities for tiny people, but I'm not going to go write a book about it, since I have zero qualifications to say so. In any case, good reference for fruit/veggie/grain prep and many fun recipe ideas for toddler meals, if you can ignore the alarmist ridiculousness....more
I picked up a copy at the library and was really excited to find that inside the misleading 80s dust jacket resides an almost-pristine 1915 edition, wI picked up a copy at the library and was really excited to find that inside the misleading 80s dust jacket resides an almost-pristine 1915 edition, with lovely full-color plates.
I finished reading this about two weeks ago, but thought I'd let my thoughts simmer a bit before posting a review. The novel was quite different from how I remembered it, not in plot, which all started coming back as I was reading, but in tone and style. It is unbelievably preachy and moralistic, sometimes in a forced and clumsy way. After finishing it, I read online that Alcott had been asked to write a moralistic tale for young girls after her success in writing for adults, and had initially not wanted to do it, which may explain the awkwardness of the first half of the book. The first 40 pages are especially saccharin, and I was pretty disappointed, but the story picked up after that. That being said, some of the lessons are valuable and even as an adult reader, I stopped to think a few times. One moral that especially sticks in my mind was a brief conclusion at the end of a chapter about how too much thinking about one's own feelings just leads to trouble. Alcott would probably be shocked by how much of modern fiction (and television) is obsession with one's own feelings and thoughts. Not that I'm too much of a Victorian, but we could all use some more thinking about others' feelings, rather than just our own, myself included.
Unlike other readers, I was not disappointed with how the relationships between Jo and Laurie, and Laurie and Amy turned out. I thought Laurie became somewhat of a prat as the novel went on, and I thought Jo much too good for him. Jo was probably about as modern and strong of a female character as the Victorian era would have allowed, so I was pretty happy with her, but what was up with Beth? Why did no one ever say anything when she kept calling herself "stupid little Beth"? Was she, in fact, mentally slow? Or just dull as a doornail? I found her character pretty boring, and had no idea what exactly was wrong with her in the end, and why they never called a doctor once she decided she was dying (what of exactly?). I guess they just accepted that she was "sickly," whatever that means. The Meg marriage/babies storyline was somewhat disappointing. It bothered me that the advice Meg got was that she should hire a nanny in order to spend less time with her babies and take care of her husband properly. The positive effects of having her husband involved in the care of the babies, which I found pretty progressive, were outweighed by the fact that the reason he had to get involved was because Meg was too soft to discipline and couldn't handle their son. Sigh.
All this being said, I did enjoy the novel, and the pacing was much better in the second half. I also liked some of the more unexpected good deeds of the girls, such as Jo cutting her hair off and donating the profits to her father's care. I think this is still a solid read for kids, as long as they get some guidance with all the God references (of which there are surprisingly many)....more
A very enjoyable and informative memoir. Highly recommended for new mothers, midwives/nurses and those interested in West Africa. The book tells the sA very enjoyable and informative memoir. Highly recommended for new mothers, midwives/nurses and those interested in West Africa. The book tells the story of Monique Dembele, barely-trained midwife and only medical practitioner in a small village in Mali, and her friendship with the author, a Peace Corps volunteer. I really appreciated that the author talked far more about Monique's role in the village than her own role as a volunteer. She seemed to equally highlight the positive aspects of the local culture and people with the hardships of poverty and gender imbalance. I learned a great deal about village life in Mali, as well as about childbirth in a developing country. Overall, a short, informative memoir that reads almost like a novel. And makes you feel unbelievably appreciative of Western medicine and our knowledge of basic infant nutrition....more