The book is a nice blend of research, personal stories, humor, and general cultural reflections. Druckerman is a very good writer, but I was surprised to realize halfway through the book that she and her family members are portrayed as rather unlikeable.
However, Druckerman is nothing if not honest, which is what makes the book such a compelling read. Much of the backlash against this book seems to stem from people who see the book as an affront to capitalism, or people who have knee-jerk reactions to anything that paints Americans in a less-than-ideal picture. Many of those who dislike the book seem oblivious to things that to me are obviously not working in American society.
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Additionally, compared to the French, our vacation time and maternity leave is short and our work days are long. We rush our students to hit developmental milestones, teaching babies to read and kindergarteners to solve math problems in workbook page after workbook page. There is little time in our culture for children or adults to just be, to breathe, to relax. In French parenting and there is basically only one way that parenting is done, as opposed to in the U.
There are set mealtimes and bed times and basic rules and manners which must be followed.
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This perspective is freeing for the parent—who is not pressured to hover over the child and narrate or praise every move the little one makes—as well as for the child, who learns to play independently and develop an identity, preferences, and friendships apart from the parent. The book is filled with examples of how this plays out in practical situations, each one more compelling than the previous. It feels different to say it this way.
The French phrasing suggests there is a fixed and coherent system of rights, which both children and adults can refer to.
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It also makes clear that the child does have the right to do other things. And it credits the child with having his own view about the peas, even if this view is being overruled.
Pitching the peas is cast as something the child rationally decided to do, so he can decide to do otherwise, tooo. The lifestyle of both the French parent and the young French child sounds enjoyable and sustainable. And yet the very little bit of information Druckerman gives about French primary and secondary schools the book ends when her oldest child is just entering the formal schooling system is disturbing.
Their standards are high and they see their job as pointing out what is wrong rather than what is right.
They dislike communicating with parents unless there is a problem. Nor does it mean that I believe every word Druckerman says about French culture. Log in No account? Create an account. Remember me. Facebook Twitter Google.
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Tags: general blog. Comments 14 comments — Leave a comment. Why are all of your short stories so good?
Definitely made me extremely impatient to read the book. Thanks for posting it! You do not know how much I swooned when the very first sentence revealed that Jared is actually Byron. You do not know. Link Reply Thread. Aw, thank you! And you know, the moors make the man. Link Reply Parent Thread. I was pretty much caught at that first sentence as well. I love that you've applied that phrase to a teenager in a modern setting, it works.
He's got Byron's looks, too. Bookmarking this to read tonight, I just got the email from amazon saying it been sent off so I should have Unspoken tomorrow and I cannot wait! Exquisite, and I loved the characters ridiculously as always. I love that Mariel struggles with the students and also with herself as she tries to help people, and Jared's understandable, painful edginess, and the way he comes alive joking about literature and talking about Kami.
I also love the glimpses we see here of his and Kami's relationship, with the way she seems to remind him to be kind. And I like that he also has to learn to focus on Mariel as a person without Kami, to find the decent human being inside himself. And his family -- shudder.
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I also wanted to say how much I appreciate your message here of letting people make their choices and then helping them. And especially applied to bad relationships, where it's so true that attacking the person you disapprove of only makes the other person defensive, a message I don't think we get often enough. So thank you for that. And thanks also for writing this and giving it away!
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