I was surprised I liked this as much as I did. I read about it in a New Yorker article and put it on hold at the library pretty much to scoff at. And yes, I find it breathtakingly stupid to become a parent, watch your 10-month-old flinging books off a shelf, and not do anything about it because she's a baby, that's what babies do, babies don't know any better, and she certainly wouldn't understand if you tried to explain (or STOP HER). Ouch.
Certain kinds of stupid must flow uphill. That anecdote was, after all, related by and about a woman who discussed her response to being laid off purely in terms of how she felt about it. There was never the slightest chance that she'd actually be left in the lurch financially by such an event. Druckerman makes the occasional reference to knowing she's relatively well-off, but she doesn't seem to understand how people on Planet Normal live. Losing a job here
might actually lose us an apartment that isn't nearly as nice as hers.
But I digress. When I could get past the tone of unconscious privilege, her reporting on French culture and parenting was thoroughly engaging. She doesn't spend the whole time trashing Americans or
worshiping the French -- she has a very balanced response to both, which I appreciated.
Yes, it's a little duh. Wow -- you mean if you don't give your child junk food all the time, she won't expect it and might even end up disliking it, because she understands what real
food tastes like? If you put reasonable limits on sweets but don't make a big deal about them, your child might follow suit? Eating chocolate on a regular basis is the key to happiness regardless of age?
Okay -- THAT one was worth seeing in print.
Read it. It'll take you an hour, and you'll spend several of those minutes laughing.