Marjana Simic's Reviews > The Wonder of Girls: Understanding the Hidden Nature of Our Daughters

The Wonder of Girls by Michael Gurian
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Jan 25, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: parenting
Read from January 25 to 26, 2011

The Wonder of Girls: Understanding the Hidden Nature of Our Daughters by Michael Gurian was recommended to me by a good friend who has read the same book. Since I had a baby girl recently, I was stacking up on worthy parenting books and decided to buy this one after doing some digging on it. The book is filled with controversy where the author talks without boundaries about topics such as sexuality, mental disorders, and differences between male and female. Luckily, I love controversy and the author does have some valuable credibility to his name as he is a family therapist who has studied many cultures, a psychologist, and a neurobiology researcher who has two daughters of his own.

The Wonder of Girls differs from other parenting books as the advice given is supported by research done on more than thirty cultures around the world. The author himself has lived among many of these cultures and speaks from experience. One of the main points that the author makes is that intimate relationships are at the core of female existence. He calls it the “heart of femininity”. Girls and women cannot function without intimate attachments to parents, friends, and romantic partners. Just as males need status, females need intimacy. Women, much more than men, think about their life relationships, how they can make them better, what had gone wrong, how to provide support, etc. Throughout all stages of a female’s life, parents need to pay extra attention to being open with their daughters about everything, and more importantly, being there for them always, even when it seems they don’t want parents around.

To make the book even more interesting, the author delves on differences between males and females. Everybody always talks of how men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Well, you will learn once you read this book that there is a lot of truth to that saying. Along with the facts on the differences between male and female brains and how they develop, the author describes families that he was treating. One mother who had both a daughter and a son had told him that she raised them exactly the same way, yet they behave completely different. The two year old daughter once cried when she noticed that she didn’t have any flowers on her socks. And the boy, not much older, pretended to hold a gun while holding a fan instead.

The author tries to instill in parents a nature-based parenting style versus nurture-based parenting (i.e. girls and women go through a monthly cycle through which their hormones change and as a result so does their behaviour and parents need to recognize this and act towards their daughters accordingly). While reading this information wealthy book, I kept returning to my own childhood, the relationships I had with my mother and father and the things they’ve taught me, things that would never cross my mind had I not read this book. I’m thankful that it gave me the opportunity to remember with more insight. The Wonder of Girls: Undrstanding the Hidden Nature of Our Daughters is a true gem that I will keep referring to during the different stages of my daughter’s life and I highly recommend it to all parents with daughters.

Here are some of my favourite quotations from the book:

“I know myself as a man, to be capable of both beautiful and cruel intimacies, and yet I know I am different from my wife and daughters. There is something about the female experience of intimacy that I will never understand because I don’t live it.”

“A mother’s eyes carry a piece of her daughter’s soul, and that brings to the relationship of mother and daughter an intrinsic understanding of each other, and at some point, the need to pull away.”

“No life is without the promise of the dance that follows harvest.”

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