Marie's Reviews > Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman
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's review
Aug 22, 12

bookshelves: miscellaneous-nonfiction
Read from August 18 to 22, 2012

As a parenting observer rather than practitioner, I enjoyed listening to this book. The author has some good points to make about the roles of parents and children within a family, and she clearly illustrates both the pictures of good balance and the pictures of parenting disasters. I liked what she had to say about allowing children a certain amount of room to strive, explore, succeed, and fail.

However, I wasn't so excited about her descriptions of her attempts to educate her daughter about Judaism. From them I get the impression that their family faith life can be summed up as follows: Don't eat pork. Celebrate Hanukkah, not Christmas. Get your sons circumcised. There is no mention of anything else--no prayer, daily ritual, regular synagogue visits, or even discussions of God. Yet she laments the lack of French societal support for believers and regrets that her daughter is not please about being Jewish. Perhaps she simply left out the daily things, but since this book is mostly about the daily practice of establishing the family framework, and then enjoying the results, I doubt it. If she wants her children to love their faith and heritage, she should probably make it more a part of their everyday lives! Getting off the soapbox now...

Anyway, I really did like most of the book, and I think the French ways of getting infants to sleep through the night and follow a regular feeding schedule by about 3 months of age sound pretty reasonable. Certainly more likely to lead to calmer, more relaxed, un-sleep-deprived parents. I think the whole idea of mutual respect and consideration, plus a firm sense of parental authority, with the patterns for this set in infancy, make a pretty good framework for any parent to work with.

Abby Craden does a good job narrating the book--most of her Frenchwomen sound the same, but she certainly does a better French accent than I do, and the book flows smoothly and humorously from her tongue.

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