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The Childless Revolution: What It Means To Be Childless Today
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The Childless Revolution: What It Means To Be Childless Today

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  181 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Thanks in part to birth control, delayed marriages, and the emergence of two-career couples, 42% of the adult female population is childless, representing the fastest-growing demographic group to emerge in decades. Alternately pitied and scorned, childless women are rarely asked directly about the reasons for their status; the elephant in the living room, childlessness is
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 31st 2002 by Da Capo Press (first published 2001)
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Nov 29, 2011 rated it liked it
So, I'm kind of giving this a pity three stars. It's not actually a very good book, but it's a quick read. I thought it would be an insightful look at what it means to choose not to have children, but instead it was like thirty pages of marginally insightful thoughts about what it means to choose not to have children, and then a lot more pages about women who want kids but end up not having them for whatever reason. Which is fine, I guess, and interesting, and actually not as annoying as all the ...more
Jan 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this book along with several others on the same topic as I struggled to figure out my place in the world as a childless woman in my 40s. Like other women without offspring, I often feel that society doesn't have much respect for my choice. And it's really difficult to discuss the subject in the company of parents, because they usually assume that my choice not to have children is automatically judgmental of their choice to do so, and feelings can get hurt easily.

In this book, I found part
Nov 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
A must-read - whether you do or *do not* have children. This book offers insight into both lifestyles. This book acknowledges that if you don't have children (whether it was your choice, a biological challenge, or just the fact that the timing was never right), you are part of a growing culture made up of many women who likely had agonized over their choice to have or not have kids. It also an eye-opening, enlightening read, for instance, for people who do have children; they can read this and r ...more
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
I shall now refer to myself happily as childfree instead of childless. Although not having children started out as a medical issue, I discovered that I didn't want children a few years later when my maternal drive never kicked in. I enjoyed this book as an opportunity to feel like I wasn't alone in the looks, comments and assumptions that are made about me and my life. I always find it funny that its the widows that warn me I'll end up alone. Dear, we all end up alone, now don't we?
Dec 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
This book categorizes childless women (intentionally and unintentionally childless), and explores the different motivations, emotions, and stresses for women faced with the monumental decision of whether or not to have children. Sadly, I found this book to be innovative, as I have not seen any other books address this issue in a meaningful way. The book has something for all women, whether you have children, want children, don't ever want children, or are unable to have children. It would be a f ...more
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, childfree
I picked up The Childless Revolution by Madelyn Cain based on the previous book I had read, Baby Not On Board, hoping it would be a more academic view of the childless/childfree life. This book is, obviously, a more serious and scholarly version of the childless lifestyle, and I appreciated the author’s interviews with different types of childless people as well as the way she incorporated psychological studies of childless people in her book.

The author, who has a child herself, broke down the c
Bek Graham
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting understanding on why more women are choosing to live childfree/ or childless. It takes the reader into the minds of Endin Blighton and various other iconic women. This books provides the reader with a strong understanding on the importance to be openminded to women who do not have children for various reasons. The primary learning concept I took was that it is not selfish not to want to have a child rather it is selfless. In mordern times, we have created a view that women who des ...more
EscaPe iNTo thE PaGEs
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Childree women and men
I will honestly admit to being bias as I don't have a desire to have children of my own but nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Cain does over 100 interviews with childless or Childfree women and gives insight into their frame of thought and reasons as to why they choose to live life Childfree and for those who sadly had no choice in the matter, they share their ways of coping with loss of control. This book was geared towards women but I think men would gain great insight into ...more
Nyx Cole
Jan 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents and the childfree/childless
Title: The Childless Revolution: What It Means To Be Childless Today
Author: Madelyn Cain (2001)
Publisher: Perseus Publishing
ISBN# 0-7382-1460-9
Price: 24.00 USD and 36.50 CAD
Ratting: 4 out of 5

Well the first thing about the book that you might notice is that the author is in fact a a parent, she isn't herself childfree which is very much evident from her opening statement "About ever six months, I have dream that is essence is always the same: My husband announces to me, in some time frame before
Sarah Jansky
Nov 15, 2015 rated it liked it
I really liked this book, because when I choose this book I thought it would barley be interesting based on the tittle. When I started reading it, it was not at all what I thought it was going to be about. I thought it was about a revolution that had no children in it, but it is really about people that do not have children. I choose this book because I am interested in children, so I thought it would be interesting. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to learn about reasons that peo ...more
Only took a few chapters to realize that this book isn't what I expected or am interested in reading. I thought it might be a sociological study of how women now have--and are actively choosing to exercise--procreation options and/or how this has changed other aspects of society (women in the workforce, demographics of families, etc.) Instead, it's mostly interviews with childless women, a sort of "confessional" blended with pop psychology with a passing nod to sociology.

Cain divides her topic
Adrienne Kiser
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is composed primarily of interview snippets held together in thematic chapters. What I found most interesting is how the way so many childless (or childfree, depending on what part of the book one is reading) women report being treated completely falls into line with my own experience.

Published in 2001, this book posits hope that women who do not have children will someday quit being looked at askance by society. Unfortunately, I don't think much has changed. I know things are better t
This book lacked the substance I had wanted from it.
I understand that there isn't a ton of information (or studies) about childless/childfree women, but anecdotal evidence is not nearly as interesting to read.
I didn't find the writing style to be particularly engaging either. I am one of those who would like a childfree existence and found this book fell flat. The bias of the author toward having children, feeling that children need a father figure and feeling that all women want to mothers (at
Sep 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book on the various views of women who are childfree/childless. The book breaks the differences down in to three main groups, those who are intentionally childfree, those who basically didn't get around to it, and those who can't have children. It then breaks it down further for various reasons. I found this to be a very well-written and fairly done. The author does have a child, but didn't make this book negative, and from what I've read, the book really opened her eyes to those who d ...more
Sep 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Very descriptive about all types of childlessness and motivations behind the decisions. Well balanced and useful information. Puts a better understanding on the often undiscussed shift of women in the world moving towards childlessness. “As a society, however, we have not learned how to separate femininity from fertility when we define women.” “It’s terrible when childless women are referred to as barren. That’s like assuming you only have one crop to grow. Fertility may exist in many forms.” (A ...more
Mar 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book is not worth reading. I was looking for a meaty read about women who choose not to have children, or who don't have children and end up liking the situation. But this book in some ways reduces those who choose not to have children to "child haters", which um, no. And it spends MOST of the book on women the author calls "childless by happenstance", which obviously, is an interesting subset of childless women. But that's not really what I'm looking for.

Also, frankly, there's no studies i
Jul 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Madelyn Cain, who always wanted to be a mother (and is), couldn't understand why some women choose not to have children, which is what prompted the research and writing of this book. Of the over 100 women she interviewed, she divided them into women who are childless by choice, by chance (medical problems/infertility), or by happenstance (basically, didn't get around to having them in time; or married a man who had children from a previous marriage and didn't want more). Over the course of the b ...more
Aug 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
A good look into the lives of women who have never borne children. The author has separate sections devoted to the reasons why some women do not have children 1)by choice (a well-thought out decision), 2)chance (could not, though they wanted to) and 3) happenstance (those that may have had them, but never got married, never met the right guy, involved in career until too late, etc. etc. I was skeptical that the author would be biased since she has a child herself after desperate attempts to have ...more
Dec 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was really good. It outlined the three different types of women who don't have children: those who are childless by chance (unable), those who are childless by choice (don't want children), and those who are childless by environment (those who may have wanted children but never had the opportunity, i.e. never met the right person, etc). It was interesting to read women's stories on being child-less and child-free and coping with being childless in a society that is centered around fami ...more
Kelly LaMaster
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
The book was more just short snippets of stories of women without children rather than actually exploring the issues and facts. The last section though, that dealt with those women like me who had always known they wanted to be that way was a little better in that the author admits that she believed every woman wanted to be a mother and some just didn't get there through one reason or another until she started doing these interviews. This was the section where she brought out some more of the st ...more
Feb 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The author had a daughter after several years of infertility and treatments. She examines the reasons and/or causes of childlessness. It's not a pronatalist-bashing book. Not at all. She classifies childfree women into three categories: choice, chance & happenstance. Some women have never wanted children, some are infertile or too ill to care for children (i.e. women with MS), and some are married to men who have children from a previous marriage and don't want anymore. Of course, there are ...more
Nicky Zamoida
Mar 03, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
For readers of this book, being a childfree lesbian woman is a lethal combination. This book is homophobic and heteronormative; the few lesbians she does interview seem to not accept their sexuality, and the author actually comes out and says that she believes children benefit from having a mother and father. The book is biased towards women who cannot have children, instead of those who choose not to have them, and as a childfree woman searching for acceptance, I did not feel accepted after rea ...more
May 03, 2013 rated it liked it
I appreciate the work that went into the book, but I agree with some of the other reviews, the author spent too much time on women who wanted children but for some reason were unable to have them, I too was hoping for more on the happy informative side that I come from.
I love that she openly admits that she was once the mother who thought that everyone wanted deep down to have kids and that she has changed her mind since researching the book. Now if others could take the time to realize their w
Selina Young
Jul 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While there are actually a few things about this book I don't like I gave it 5 stars for at least adding this to the discourse. I prefer the term "childfree" because I don't think I'm less of a person for choosing not to have children. I wish there were more male perspectives on this issue (in this book).
Feb 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, and it helped me to hear other womens stories and pick up info and help myself "heal". I read other reviews who this author has a child and so I didn't read her introduction or the "Personal Note" because I didn't want to hear about it lol... Overall a good book, and like I said helped me decide some things.
Apr 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read for those of us who would like to remain "child-free." It would be good for those who have children to get our perspective as well, since many moms don't understand why a woman does not want children. It is not an "anti-kid" book in any way. The author has a daughter herself! It was fantastic.
Mar 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sociology, women
I thought this book was really interesting. As someone still on the fence about having kids, this book was very thought-provoking. The stories Cain tells are heart-breaking and honest. If you are a woman considering whether or not to have children, I think this books is well worth your time.
Diana Turner
Aug 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Eh. It comes off a little defensive, a little bit "society has me down because I don't have children." I was hoping to read some brilliant arguments for not having children, which she doesn't really have. Pity.
Jules Wolfers
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended for folks who want to understand childlessness in all issues. Validated a lot of my points/observations, especially in some areas that had been overlooked or not sufficiently addressed in other books (i.e growing up with poor parenting/narcissistic parents and happenstance).
Sep 27, 2009 rated it liked it
These books are starting to sound like a broken record, so I think I got the point. Time to return to fiction!
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