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How to Be a Family: The Year I Dragged My Kids Around the World to Find a New Way to Be Together
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How to Be a Family: The Year I Dragged My Kids Around the World to Find a New Way to Be Together

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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  117 ratings  ·  23 reviews
In this "refreshingly relatable" (Outside) memoir, Slate editor Dan Kois sets out with his family on a journey around the world to change their lives together.



What happens when one frustrated dad turns his kids' lives upside down in search of a new way to be a family?

Dan Kois and his wife always did their best for their kids. Busy professionals living in the()
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Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Little, Brown and Company
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Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  117 ratings  ·  23 reviews


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Jeanette
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
I probably should have quit this book 1/2 way through. But I didn't. I wanted to get to Kansas- that's why.

Honestly I don't think I have ever read a memoir or travelogue of such wordiness verbosity smugness. And this man thinks he is "kind". LOL! It's beyond belief that they used the word "refreshing" to describe in the trailer.

The places they lived for each 3 month period were more interesting than the writer. That's for sure. And his wife and girls? Well, there's too much arrogant, elitist D
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Katie
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, and clearly am the exact right demographic to appreciate it--we're about 8 years behind Kois's family, but we too are an editor and an attorney who moved to the DC suburbs with a kid, few friends, and too little time. So I can definitely get where he's coming from. I loved the author's sense of humor and the glimpses of parenting styles abroad. I also appreciated the extent to which he resisted packaging everything into a neat arc, where he went on this journey and le ...more
Marissa St.Marseille
BUYER BEWARE!

The title is deceiving! I was only 11% into the book, when I realized this was more about the author's political agenda. It's just more Trump bashing and US shaming. If you don't get enough of that from the news media, then maybe you would enjoy the book. The end game for me was when the author writes about their move to New Zealand, and how his 11 year old daughter upon meeting new people, starts out every conversation with "Sorry about Trump." (Page 37). That was enough for me,
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Tish
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
I like the premise.....

But I see no way to truly integrate into communities and learn from their different parenting styles in 12 weeks.

I guess I should be talking to my neighbors who moved to Scotland for a year so the husband could continue his education. Or my college friend who packed up her kids, quit her job, and is living in Germany for two years. Those people have had time to integrate and learn from the culture they're living in. This author and his family spent
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Katelyn
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dan Kois and his wife Alia Smith realized their lives in Arlington, VA were overworked and over stressed. Both worked long hours, their kids attended a high achieving/high pressure school and they battled about screen time. They decided to take a year and live in different places to see how others lived. They spent a few months each in different countries--New Zealand, the Netherlands, Costa Rica--ending in an area of America very different from their home: rural Kansas.

I enjoyed see
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Julie
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fair warning: I'm a big fan of Dan's from the podcast, Mom and Dad Are Fighting. I find him immensely relatable, funny and frankly, I just want to have a beer with him and vent about parenting.
This book is refreshingly honest and funny, a fascinating study in family and cultural dynamics. Highly recommend.
Tatiana
Oct 12, 2019 marked it as dnf
Shelves: 2019, non-fiction
Dan is so much fun as a podcaster, but as a parenting writer - yawn.
Amy
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love a good travel memoir-especially about families traveling around the world! This one was super interesting-and the author didn't sugar coat the trip. It was rocky and not fun as a parent sometimes. I was especially intrigued by the schools around the world their daughters encountered and the different parenting styles. I think my favorite place was New Zealand!
Olga Mecking
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Usually, books about parenting abroad start with the writer moving to a new country (be it for their spouse's job, or just to get a better work-life-balance), noticing how locals did it better, and then decided to share that wisdom with the world.

This book is not like that. Not only did it include four countries instead of one, but it also acknowledged that not all parenting philosophies can be implanted someplace else. Moreover, it also admitted that locals might seem to have it all figured ou
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Liz
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Despite my serious envy of the parents who packed up their suburban DC life and took their daughters on a round-the-world trip for a year, and despite the audacious privilege inherent in this trip (the most "challenging" place they stayed was...Costa Rica??), this book is sharp and hilarious. And the observations about the existential doubts faced by privileged suburban DC parents sure felt on the nose.
Trish
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
3.5 stars but rounding up just because. I felt like after the New Zealand and the Netherlands sections, the book felt rushed. Costa Rica didn’t have much of a character here. But I came away with an admiration for what Dan and Alia did and a desire to do something similar some day. Or to emigrate to New Zealand right away. Also did away with my desire to retire early in Costa Rica after an amazing trip there a couple years ago.. mosquitoes!!
Laura Dye
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Had no intention of reading, much less buying, this book until I heard the author read a chapter aloud on one of my favorite podcasts. (Mom and dad are fighting) The existential crisises he spoke about were so relatable that I immediately bought the book. Loved it. Smart and funny, shares the kids perspective, honest about the struggles and the joys. I very much relate to how he thinks about parenting, and I appreciate that.
Susie | Novel Visits
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
My Thoughts: I love to travel and thought How to Be A Family: The Year I Dragged My Kids Around the World to Find a New Way to Be Together by Dan Kois would be perfect for me. That’s a HUGE title and it says a lot. I really liked the parts of this memoir that focused on the author and his family: how they traveled together, compromised, fought, etc. I enjoyed his exploration of parenting attitudes in New Zealand and Holland, and how they were able to live so differently in those countries. Howev ...more
Gin Battista
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed reading about your family's adventures to the different countries during 2017.
Thanks for allowing us to experience how other countries differ from ours.
Thanks, Goodreads, for choosing me as a winner of this book.
Cheryl
Sep 29, 2019 marked it as x-new
Real Simple rec.
I might roll my eyes the entire time... but I might love it.
Amy Carstensen
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book and love this author. His story is fun and inspiring but also very real.
Carly Thompson
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, ebook, memoir
Enjoyable year in the life memoir about family life/parenting in different countries.
Timna
Oct 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
not going to finish
Michelle Pulignani
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this adventure.
Nancy Dardarian
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love people who challenge the normal suburban overscheduled family suburban norms and search for more. I wish that this had been a more transformative experience for the kids though.
Sara
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Having spent about a year traveling with my husband and two daughters as well, I found Dan Kois’ book to be incredibly on point, funny and relatable.
Amy Newton
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How fun to read a book by a guy who grew up in the same sphere I did. This was a fantastic - and honest - telling of a family adventure. Great work Dan.
Jennifer
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved this. The writing is often funny, mostly utilitarian but the feelings are anything but.
Robin Anderson
rated it really liked it
Oct 15, 2019
Whitney
rated it liked it
Oct 21, 2019
Krista-Beth
rated it really liked it
Oct 03, 2019
Sara Causey
rated it it was amazing
Sep 27, 2019
David
rated it liked it
Sep 23, 2019
Codered Summer
rated it it was amazing
Oct 02, 2019
Ash
rated it really liked it
Oct 11, 2019
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