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Publisher's Summary

The secret behind France's astonishingly well-behaved children is here.

When American journalist Pamela Druckerman has a baby in Paris, she doesn't aspire to become a "French parent". French parenting isn't a known thing, like French fashion or French cheese. Even French parents themselves insist they aren't doing anything special.

Yet the French children Druckerman knows sleep through the night at two or three months old while those of her American friends take a year or more. French kids eat well-rounded meals that are more likely to include braised leeks than chicken nuggets. And while her American friends spend their visits resolving spats between their kids, her French friends sip coffee while the kids play.

Motherhood itself is a whole different experience in France. There's no role model, as there is in America, for the harried new mom with no life of her own. French mothers assume that even good parents aren't at the constant service of their children and that there's no need to feel guilty about this. They have an easy, calm authority with their kids that Druckerman can only envy.

Of course, French parenting wouldn't be worth talking about if it produced robotic, joyless children. In fact, French kids are just as boisterous, curious, and creative as Americans. They're just far better behaved and more in command of themselves. While some American toddlers are getting Mandarin tutors and preliteracy training, French kids are - by design - toddling around and discovering the world at their own pace.

With a notebook stashed in her diaper bag, Druckerman, a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal, sets out to learn the secrets to raising a society of good little sleepers, gourmet eaters, and reasonably relaxed parents. She discovers that French parents are extremely strict about some things and strikingly permissive about others. And she realizes that to be a different kind of parent, you don't just need a different parenting philosophy. You need a very different view of what a child actually is.

While finding her own firm non, Druckerman discovers that children - including her own - are capable of feats she'd never imagined.

©2012 Pamela Druckerman (P)2012 Random House

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  • April
  • Hattiesburg, MS
  • 02-26-12

Everyone is a better parent than you are

Pamela Druckerman lived in France. She saw French parents doing a better job than she was and wrote a book about it.

According to Druckerman, French babies are treated like little adults and that is what makes the French wiser and better parents.

I have no children. I did full time nanny work for about two years and lived with and cared for children, but I feel like it's important to point out that I myself am not a parent.

This is an attractive book because it portrays a sort of secret code to getting your child to sleep through the night, eat their food and not to be hellions to other people.

Yet, really, its the culture and the social programs in place that seem to make the biggest difference. Americans are never going to take up the ideas of French parenting because culturally we are so different. In short? It seems to me like the whole book is a kind of utopian fairytale. Great for France, but not so applicable to America.

16 of 26 people found this review helpful

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Engaging and eye opening

I have read several books on parenting, but I have never ENJOYED one as much as this. I’ve always had a love affair with France but this made me want to full on embody what it means to be a parent in Paris. I loved the insight this book provided and now find myself chuckling at times when I see Pamela’s observations on American style parenting play out in front of me. Great read, highly recommend. Only wish I had read it sooner!

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The best parenting book!!

I am so happy I found this book!
The ideas are both “common sense” and revolutionary (ie would not come naturally to an American because of the examples we have).
I am expecting my first and this is exactly how I want to parent, but wouldn’t think it possible unless I had read this book.
I will be recommend it to every pregnant friend (although not people who already have kids as they might take it as a reproof of their parenting style).
I love the mix of advice from parents and advice from science/experts.
It is also an entertaining story (most parenting books are painful to listen to).
The narrator was (I thought) great, I found no fault with her French accent (although I’m not French), and liked that she used it to distinguish narration from quotes.

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Amazing Tips

This book is funny and informative. I️ found it to be very helpful but not pushy. The writer is amusing and enlightening.

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ethman74

The reader decided to adopt a slightly haughty tone when reading Druckerman's first person account, which I don't think was intended when she wrote it. The faux French accent the reader used throughout the book grew tiresome and ultimately unlistenable. I will be finishing this book in print or on an e-reader.

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loved!

great narrator, light hearted and enjoyable! I related to so many things as an American mother in America! learned some great things from another culture as well!

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Different insight to parenting, I suppose.

This book only validated parenting techniques and philosophies I already adhere to, not because I'm French, perhaps only because I'm pragmatic and direct with my children. Noth8ng groundbreaking here, but I do suppose some parents might find some things an interesting perspective. It's a good listen nonetheless. The narrator is great, and some funny stories.

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Entertaining and educational

Funny but also very useful when it comes to other ways of parenting besides the American one. I love the language the author uses, her self irony and also the idea that what the French people say is always with French accent. I miss some in-depth explanation on the parenting tips but I have been given the basic idea of what alternatives there are in raising my kids.

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so pleasant

I enjoyed the whole thing, understanding and learning things along the way. narration was soothing.

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terrible

The actual parenting tips can be summarized in two pages. And the rest is all about telling people to live like the French. I've been to France several times and spent a lot of time in Europe. The time while I was in Paris, I didn't find French women dress particularly better or carry themselves better than else where. Women who are more elegant than usual are the ones in the fifties. The younger women are just as loud behave similarly as anywhere else. I don't know why the author needs to write a whole book putting American women down and not to respect other people's life choice. Very very little parenting advise. If you wanna learn about French culture, go see yourself. It's not any better. They just smile less. Terrible book.