Well-presented, solid facts that address the many detriments of helicopter parenting.

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HOW TO RAISE AN ADULT

BREAK FREE OF THE OVERPARENTING TRAP AND PREPARE YOUR KID FOR SUCCESS

Why helicopter parents are doing more harm than good to their children.

Beginning with their earliest moments, parents are in control of their children’s lives, and most strive to provide a safe, nourishing environment fostering growth and prosperity. However, many parents have taken the need to be involved in every aspect of their child’s social and academic environments to an unhealthy extreme. Using thorough research and interviews with teachers, university personnel, and employers, Lythcott-Haims examines how this need to participate on the part of the adult has actually crippled the child, hindering even college-age students from making sound and logical decisions on their own. In her easy-to-read prose, the author relates scenarios of parents calling their children in college to make sure they’ve done their homework, studied for a test, or even something as simple as eaten breakfast. This almost nightmarish overzealousness on the parts of the parents to coordinate and micromanage every daily activity has had increasingly detrimental effects on today’s group of children, young adults, and those in their 20s, leading to increased anxiety, drug and alcohol use, self-harming, and even suicide. Lythcott-Haims also skillfully addresses the added stress this creates for the parents, who through the best of intentions have unwittingly created superdependent miniadults incapable of functioning on their own on many levels. The author does a superb job of laying out the facts, pinpointing the specific areas and age levels where parents should step back and advising them on how to regain control of their own lives, even if that means their children might fail at something. Her advice is sound and obviously much needed by many if parents want to raise productive adults.

Well-presented, solid facts that address the many detriments of helicopter parenting.

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-177-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

THE ESCAPE ARTIST

Fremont (After Long Silence, 1999) continues—and alters—her story of how memories of the Holocaust affected her family.

At the age of 44, the author learned that her father had disowned her, declaring her “predeceased”—or dead in his eyes—in his will. It was his final insult: Her parents had stopped speaking to her after she’d published After Long Silence, which exposed them as Jewish Holocaust survivors who had posed as Catholics in Europe and America in order to hide multilayered secrets. Here, Fremont delves further into her tortured family dynamics and shows how the rift developed. One thread centers on her life after her harrowing childhood: her education at Wellesley and Boston University, the loss of her virginity to a college boyfriend before accepting her lesbianism, her stint with the Peace Corps in Lesotho, and her decades of work as a lawyer in Boston. Another strand involves her fraught relationship with her sister, Lara, and how their difficulties relate to their father, a doctor embittered after years in the Siberian gulag; and their mother, deeply enmeshed with her own sister, Zosia, who had married an Italian count and stayed in Rome to raise a child. Fremont tells these stories with novelistic flair, ending with a surprising theory about why her parents hid their Judaism. Yet she often appears insensitive to the serious problems she says Lara once faced, including suicidal depression. “The whole point of suicide, I thought, was to succeed at it,” she writes. “My sister’s completion rate was pathetic.” Key facts also differ from those in her earlier work. After Long Silence says, for example, that the author grew up “in a small city in the Midwest” while she writes here that she grew up in “upstate New York,” changes Fremont says she made for “consistency” in the new book but that muddy its narrative waters. The discrepancies may not bother readers seeking psychological insights rather than factual accuracy, but others will wonder if this book should have been labeled a fictionalized autobiography rather than a memoir.

A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982113-60-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A miscellany of paternal pride (and frustration) darkened by the author’s increasing realizations of his mortality.

DAD'S MAYBE BOOK

Ruminations and reminiscences of an author—now in his 70s—about fatherhood, writing, and death.

O’Brien (July, July, 2002, etc.), who achieved considerable literary fame with both Going After Cacciato (1978) and The Things They Carried (1990), returns with an eclectic assembly of pieces that grow increasingly valedictory as the idea of mortality creeps in. (The title comes from the author’s uncertainty about his ability to assemble these pieces in a single volume.) He begins and ends with a letter: The initial one is to his first son (from 2003); the terminal one, to his two sons, both of whom are now teens (the present). Throughout the book, there are a number of recurring sections: “Home School” (lessons for his sons to accomplish), “The Magic Show” (about his long interest in magic), and “Pride” (about his feelings for his sons’ accomplishments). O’Brien also writes often about his own father. One literary figure emerges as almost a member of the family: Ernest Hemingway. The author loves Hemingway’s work (except when he doesn’t) and often gives his sons some of Papa’s most celebrated stories to read and think and write about. Near the end is a kind of stand-alone essay about Hemingway’s writings about war and death, which O’Brien realizes is Hemingway’s real subject. Other celebrated literary figures pop up in the text, including Elizabeth Bishop, Andrew Marvell, George Orwell, and Flannery O’Connor. Although O’Brien’s strong anti-war feelings are prominent throughout, his principal interest is fatherhood—specifically, at becoming a father later in his life and realizing that he will miss so much of his sons’ lives. He includes touching and amusing stories about his toddler sons, about the sadness he felt when his older son became a teen and began to distance himself, and about his anguish when his sons failed at something.

A miscellany of paternal pride (and frustration) darkened by the author’s increasing realizations of his mortality.

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-618-03970-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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