They say that a good book is one that changes your life, but I like to be more specific. A good book changes your behavior, and no other book has changed my day to day behavior like “Bringing up Bebe”.
The book is a smart blend of parenting memoir and journalism (read, entertaining yet fact filled). It’s Pamela Druckerman’s experience immersed in French parenting as an expat raising children in Paris, juxtaposed with her American parenting sensibilities. It’s not a ‘how-to’ book, yet there are loads of specific, fresh parenting ideas that are backed by Druckerman’s personal anecdotes and hard research. Her central argument is this: French parents do some things better.
The book was somewhat controversial for American parents when it first debuted, but after reading her book, I was sold on many of Druckerman’s French parenting ideas. For exactly what French parents do better you’ll have to read the book (there is a distilled version of the tips from her memoir, Bebe Day by Day), but in my house when my daughter consumes the bowl of broccoli I served as a vegetable course at dinner instead of filling up on starches, or when my son stretches his patience after I postpone his request to swing at the playground, I see that kids learn best when parents don’t cater to every whim. Read Bringing Up Bebe, you’ll see what I mean.