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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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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.

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An interesting discussion

Let me start with what this book is not. This book wasn't a particularly compelling memoir nor a super helpful parenting book. That said, it's an interesting discussion of modern and historical parenting themes with an obvious emphasis on varied cultural norms. There are plenty of general and specific observations along with thoughtful musings and anecdotes to stir a lot of self reflection on how we approach parenting. I definitely got a lot out of it as I continue to shape my personal identity as an American woman and mother.

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Overglamorizes while perpetuating stereotypes

What did you like best about Bringing Up Bebe? What did you like least?

Best - it *is* entertaining. I enjoyed the anecdotes regardless of my very different perspective on parenting.

Least- I agree with another reviewer who said that the pronunciations and imitations of French accents were annoying. (I am a French speaker)

However, the reason I was not able to finish the book is that the generalizations, especially those about French women, REALLY got on my nerves. I found that this book perpetuated negative stereotypes I already had in mind about the tall, slim, chic, superior-in-every-way Parisian woman who is too "adult" and "sophistiquée" to eat a cupcake (and we are supposed to admire that why?). This sort of person obviously does exist-, otherwise the stereotype would not exist. However, I refuse to believe that this is the ONLY type of French woman out there (and thankfully, I have a handful of French friends who do not fit this cookie-cutter image).

This book also was very one-sided in its view of "successful" parenting. If we are to believe this book, the "cry-it-out" method is the only one that works, and is the reason that French parents have perfectly behaved little angels who are infinitely patient and well-mannered and only eat at prescribed mealtimes. I also have a problem with the way this book treats etiquette and external, social behavior as the ultimate measure of child rearing.

In a couple of words, overgeneralized and overglamorized.

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interesting content

As a first time father. I must say this gave me a good in view between the stereo typical western liberal approach and the strict asian Dragon lady parenting style.

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Great content, bad accents

The content of the book is incitefull and engaging. I grew up with A French mom and there are many Ahah moments. That said, the French accents get to be tiring, and even irritating at points.

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Great look at parenting

this book was a great look at alternative parenting from the American standard. A lot of ideas I think that Americans should adopt and it's great to see somebody putting it into words how to perceive your child and parent in a controlled healthy manner

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Wish I had read it earlier

I absolutely loved the story and the performance. From the start it gave me the confidence I needed as a first time mother. Being pregnant and raising a child in the US is like a race you're destined to loose. After reading a bunch of books on different techniques I finally realized I just needed to start with this one and just follow my instincts and my daughter's rhythm. The book is full of very clear and direct messages that I found greatly helpful. In contrary with other reviews I enjoyed the French accent of the narrator in some places, I find it hilarious.