SAVING CHILDHOOD by Michael Medved

SAVING CHILDHOOD

Protecting Our Children from the National Assault on Innocence
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KIRKUS REVIEW

While avoiding the phrase “family values,” this book sets out to demonstrate—not unsuccessfully—that children confront sex, violence, fear, and consumerism far sooner than they should, and in unexpected places. Children deserve to enjoy a time of innocence, but assaults by the media, the schools, their peers, and their parents have reduced that period to a brief few years, say the authors. The Medveds are parents of three; Michael (Hollywood vs. America, 1992, etc.) is a movie critic for the New York Post and a talk-radio host; Diane (The American Family, with Dan Quayle) is a practicing psychologist. They are also observant Jews. And, at least according to this book, they have indeed created a cocoon for their children by enrolling them in religious schools, by closely monitoring their friendships, and by carefully regulating other outside influences. There is no television in the Medved home. Reading is encouraged, but supervised—Judy Blume is considered iffy because she discusses menstruation and sexuality too soon. TV’s the major villain, guilty of venalities ranging from the medium’s general, overarching superficiality to an interpretation of the world as unduly ugly, scary, and deceitful. In the villainy category, schools come next, charged with inciting inappropriate anxiety when instructing students about such issues as “improper touching” and environmental desolation (and criticized for emphasizing “interpersonal skills” more than arithmetic). Peers take a hit, too, when they indulge in drugs, violence, body piercing, or rudeness. Parents are criticized because they no longer instill a homegrown ethical sense. What children need, announce the Medveds, is “security, a sense of wonder, and optimism” about life. Concluding chapters advise parents on how to achieve goals like these. The authors make some points. Unfortunately, they also belabor them. And, alas, their heaven seems to be the air-brushed life of the Eisenhower era. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 5th, 1998
ISBN: 0-06-017372-6
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1998