All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was the first book related to parenting I've read all the way through, and I really liked it. The balance between research, opinion, interviews, and insight led to an easy-to-read reflection on what parenting is all about. In many ways it was validating to read about how difficult parenting is, some of the paradoxes that our culture has set up about parenting, and the struggles many modern parents face when rearing children. I know my wife loved this book because it helped her feel aware and alive to the fact that many women feel lonely, bored, and even sad while they have young children. This doesn't mean parenting is undesirable by any means, it just means it is more full of joy than it is full of fun.
The stories and interviews throughout the book, weaved together with thoughtful commentary by the author and interesting references to other books, articles, and studies, made for a very interesting format that was fun to read. Fundamentally this book is actually about parents, not children, which may be different than most parenting books (ironically). The discussions about working parents, tiger moms, obsession with "entertaining our children", and many other topics helped me see my role as a father in a new and helpful way. I recommend this book to anyone, regardless of whether they are a parent or not. It gives a very real picture of what parenting is all about, the hard aspects and the joyous ones too!
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I am a graduate student in Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University. I enjoy writing, hiking, and spending time with my family.