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Why Have Kids?

A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness

Valenti, Jessica

(Book - 2012)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Why Have Kids?
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Would-be parents must navigate the decision to have children amidst a daunting combination of cultural expectations and hard facts. And new parents find themselves struggling to reconcile their elation with the often exhausting, confusing, and expensive business of child care. If parenting is making Americans unhappy, if it's impossible to "have it all," if people don't have the economic, social, or political structures needed to support child rearing, then why do it? And why are anxious new parents flocking to every Tiger Mother and Bébé-raiser for advice on how to raise kids? Here, feminist author Jennifer Valenti explores these controversial questions through on-the-ground reporting, startling new research, and her own unique experiences as a mom. She moves beyond the black-and-white "mommy wars" over natural parenting, discipline, and work-life balance to explore a more nuanced reality: one filled with ambivalence, joy, guilt, and exhaustion.--From publisher description.
Publisher: Boston : New Harvest, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.
ISBN: 9780547892610
Characteristics: xx, 178 p. ;,22 cm.

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May 20, 2013
  • Toonie21 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Any parent asks themselves this at some point. An interesting read which challenges many uncomforatble assumptions about becoming a parent, being a parent and whether or not its actually a good thing. Well written, evokes reflection and identification that you are not alone.

May 17, 2013
  • magsdaisy17 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed this book. Though it wasn't as in-depth as I thought (or was hoping) it would be, I think that Jessica Valenti does ask some questions about modern parenting that would likely provoke and raise the ire of many parents today.

As one commenter pointed out, it does sound like a bit of a blog post. However, I don't think it's entirely a bad thing, either. The book does draw fair examples about the absurdity of parenting today. I wasn't surprised by anything here (I'm already in the no-kids boat), but I have certainly experienced a lot of the attitudes alluded to here as a result of my choices.

I feel that maybe if the book hadn't been named Why Have Kids?, it may have instilled a different tone in the reader. All in all, however it's a great read for non-parents - and parents - alike.

Jan 10, 2013
  • ksoles rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

In "Why Have Kids?," feminist Jessica Valenti explores why people choose parenthood, how society portrays the parenting experience and what happens when the reality doesn't mesh with the fairy tale. She addresses her topic from cultural, personal and historical perspectives and wades into the moral and logistical problems facing mothers today.

Valenti states early on that she wants her book to incite anger and discussion. In this venture she succeeds, mostly by offering her own opinions on controversial issues such as breastfeeding, maternity leave and gender roles. Unfortunately, however, this book ultimately reads as a summary of ground that others have already covered exhaustively. Brief and shallow with a timid thesis and half-hearted anecdotes, "Why have kids" feels like an extensive blog post. Valenti reaches most of her conclusions through contested or unsupported "facts" and she seems neither informed nor passionate about her subject. Perhaps she wrote it more out of material opportunity than parental love.

Nov 05, 2012
  • mombrarian rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I can’t say it any better than these reviewers did – a must read.

“This timely volume, which should generate much controversy, is a call for much-needed change and may unite a new generation of moms.” –Publishers Weekly

“Timely…[Valenti] states early on that her book is meant to anger people and incite discussions…She wades deeply into the moral and logistical problems facing mothers, with interviews, research and her own anecdotal experiences.” –Kirkus Reviews

“For mothers like Valenti, who felt guilty admitting impatience at the drudgery and boredom that constitutes much of parenting, this book may be a revelation. And a comfort.” – People Magazine

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