Senior could have made this book twice as long given the minefield parents and their kids face, but what she did produce is...

READ REVIEW

ALL JOY AND NO FUN

THE PARADOX OF MODERN PARENTHOOD

What can we learn from studying the effects of children on parents?

The past 10 or 15 years will likely be looked back on as a period when parents sank into a morass of identity crisis, with “helicopter parents,” “tiger moms,” and legions of hand-wringing moms and dads trying to figure out where the line is for good intentions based on sound science. It naturally follows that researchers would turn their gazes away from the effects of parents on their children—enough has been written about that to fill a library—and toward the effects of children on their parents. From the starting point of parenting being a “high cost/high reward activity,” New York contributor Senior delves into a broad survey of the topic, parsing out the different arenas in which children are molding the lives of their parents. Employment, marriage, hobbies, habits, relationships with friends and other family, even a parent’s sense of his- or herself: Senior takes an analytical approach to each of these areas, looking at them through a variety of lenses—historical, economic, philosophical, anthropological. She finds that French mothers simultaneously enjoyed caring more for their children and spent less time actually doing it than American women. She examines the phenomenon of “concerted cultivation,” with kids being overscheduled to boost their performances in years to come, and how both narcissism and concern about future opportunities go hand in hand with this level of control. Teenagers, with a heady combination of being both “wild horses and penned veal,” have a great deal of influence over their parents, and the author does an admirable job of reviewing the current state of affairs with technology—specifically, the reversal of roles, with parents asking their kids to friend them on Facebook.

Senior could have made this book twice as long given the minefield parents and their kids face, but what she did produce is well-considered and valuable information.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-207222-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

A sharp, compelling, and impassioned book.

WHY I'M NO LONGER TALKING TO WHITE PEOPLE ABOUT RACE

A London-based journalist offers her perspective on race in Britain in the early 21st century.

In 2014, Eddo-Lodge published a blog post that proclaimed she was “no longer engaging with white people on the topic of race.” After its viral reception, she realized that her mission should be to do the opposite, so she actively began articulating, rather than suppressing, her feelings about racism. In the first chapter, the author traces her awakening to the reality of a brutal British colonial history and the ways that history continues to impact race relations in the present, especially between blacks and the police. Eddo-Lodge analyzes the system that has worked against blacks and kept them subjugated to laws that work against—rather than for—them. She argues that it is not enough to deconstruct racist structures. White people must also actively see race itself by constantly asking “who benefits from their race and who is disproportionately impacted by negative stereotypes.” They must also understand the extent of the privileges granted them because of their race and work through racist fears that, as British arch-conservative Enoch Powell once said, “the black man will [one day] have the whip hand over the white man.” Eddo-Lodge then explores the fraught question of being a black—and therefore, according to racist stereotype—“angry” female and the ways her “assertiveness, passion and excitement” have been used against her. In examining the relationship between race and class, the author further notes the way British politicians have used the term “white” to qualify working class. By leaving out reference to other members of that class, they “compound the currency-like power of whiteness.” In her probing and personal narrative, Eddo-Lodge offers fresh insight into the way all racism is ultimately a “white problem” that must be addressed by commitment to action, no matter how small. As she writes, in the end, “there's no justice, there's just us.”

A sharp, compelling, and impassioned book.

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4088-7055-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more