Rachel's Reviews > Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety

Perfect Madness by Judith Warner
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's review
Aug 17, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: sociology-etc, nonfiction, 2011
Read in August, 2010

I might not be the best person to review this book, seeing as I don't have any kids. It was a pretty depressing read, although that's not a critique of the book itself. I did wonder how realistic the portrayal of virtually all middle/upper-middle-class mothers as buying into unrealistic mothering expectations was, but I don't really have any criteria for judging that.

One criticism I've seen of this book is that she focuses on the aforementioned upper-middle-class mothers, but I don't think that's a fair criticism, since she says clearly that poorer mothers simply didn't fit into the scope of the book. I think my biggest reservation about this was that there seemed to be a haziness about some of her time lines. That may be due to reader slowness on my part, but there were several places where I felt like she was jumping from one historical development back to another one, and her illustrations didn't really match up with her assertions. It also felt repetitive at times, like it could have benefited from a bit more paring down.

Overall, though, I appreciated her point of view and agree with most of her assertions about governmental solutions to parental overwhelm (access to cheaper, better childcare, etc.). While I agree with her, though, I suspect that she's not likely to garner much support among a right-of-center crowd--I think it's an important subject, and she has some good things to say, but it struck me as a little preaching-to-the-choir.

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