Bringing Up Bébé - Review

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bringing up bébeBeing a parent is one of the most difficult things that anyone can do. The variety of choices faced by moms and dads are both vast and variable. Pamela Druckerman found herself a part of this world. Suddenly, questions surrounding food, sleep, and childcare encroached on this first time Manhattan mother. But Pamela faced an additional layer of conflict as she considered how to raise her first born; Pamela gave birth in Paris. Bringing Up Bébé contrasts the parenting styles of the American upper class and their Parisian contemporaries. It is an observational commentary of the best and worst that the two countries have to offer their kids. Pamela is a wonderful writer and has put together a body of anecdotes from her time in Paris. She offers a transparent view of her life as an immigrant, a wife, and a mother. The city of lights is a primary character in her story and doesn't lack for mentions of food, snobbery, or beauty. We follow Pamela's journey as she moves and starts a family with her British husband. Step by step she reveals the subtle, and absurd, differences between child rearing cultures with content ranging from subtle to sublime. Her observations, as an American in France, are both interesting and insightful.

I would recommend reading this book. It is honest and discusses the better and baffling parts of one person's experiences in Paris. The authors conclusions have a tendency to feel oversimplified. But I had to remind myself that Bringing Up Bébé is not meant to be a cultural study. Druckerman writes a personal reflection that narrowly avoids a prescriptive tone. I was won over by her clarity of thought, wit, and personal applications.

Brent ColbyComment