Book Corner 2021.23

by Michaeleen Doucleff

I really can’t say why I wanted to read this book nor why I loved it, considering I am not a parent, have never been a parent, have never in my adult life wanted to be a parent, am definitely not a regular reader of parenting books, and skip just about anything related to parenting in all other media as well.

But this was a book about culture. The insane author takes her three-year-old to three different destinations around the world, each wilder than the last, to learn what the cultures there can teach her about parenting and her troubles with Rosy.

From the Maya of Yucatan, she learned about ‘acomodido’ – how children learn to be accommodating, to help without being asked, to know what help is needed without being told. From the Inuit of Baffin Island, she learned how to be calm, and raise a calmer child. From the Hadzabe of Tanzania, she learned about autonomy, how children can be independent yet still taught that they must be a help to their family and tribe.

Some might say she idealizes these other cultures. Sometimes yes, it is hard to believe everything is always as smooth and beautiful as she describes. But it’s meant to be a kind of self-help book. There’s lots of repetition of the lessons of each section, literal repetition – I always hate summary pages that tell me what I just read; I read for a story, and they interrupt the flow.

Nevertheless, none of this detracted for me from the fun of visiting with these families around the world, and seeing how different family life can be from what we are used to here. As for the author and her trouble child, I really enjoyed spending time with them, too. Rosy’s tantrums can be hysterical, when enjoyed from my safe distance. Hearing how well new methods worked to calm her down was rewarding. In the end, I’m sad tonight that I’m done with the book and won’t have any time with Rosy and Michaeleen anymore. That’s at least a four star book right there. (  )

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