Pamela Druckerman was a reporter at The Wall Street Journal in New York when her life took a number of sudden turns. In the span of a year, she was laid off from her job, reconnected with an old flame, flew to London to meet his parents and moved to Paris for his career. Before long, they married and she began her next adventure: motherhood.
The moment she discovered she was expecting, Druckerman began her quest to learn everything about pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood, or, as she puts it, to figure out “exactly what to worry about.” What she discovered, and chronicles in this book, were very different cultural attitudes toward parenting in her home country and her adopted one.
The book created a maelstrom of controversy when first published in 2012. Were the French really better at raising kids, or just better at looking the other way? Did Parisian 8-year-olds really eat their vegetables? Wait patiently for their snacks? Act unfailingly polite in all situations? Is it true that French parents have social lives and do things like sleep and have sex?
Druckerman offers plenty to ponder and loads of interesting anecdotes to illustrate her findings. As for which parenting style is best? An accommodating, hyper-vigilant American might say the jury’s still out. The non-waffling French would surely tell you, “C’est nous!”