Reading All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior was a welcome break from all the fiction I have been reading. I love a good non-fiction book and this cross between a parenting and psychology book was good fun. I believe that I first heard of Jennifer Seniors book via a TED talk she gave in 2014:
Like most TED talks the speakers are very good. They are practiced and the speech comes off flawlessly. Also, like most speaking at TED then are selling something. In Ms. Senior’s case she was selling her book and doing a damn good job of it too. It worked on me. I got her book, but didn’t read it until recently.
Senior has a very interesting way of approaching the parenting book writing process. Instead of telling you how to raise your children like so many of the books out there do, she is more interested in looking at how raising children effects the parents.
What it does to us. the good and the bad. How does having children change us? It is an interesting take. I felt something was missing in this book and it could very well be the lack of child rearing advice or maybe it was something else. Funny thing is that Senior herself writes a good many book reviews. You see she works for the New York Times.
I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars. As I said, I felt something was missing, I just can’t put my finger on it. All in all it was a good fiction read, well written and researched. If you are looking for a parenting self-help book that turns the question around, this is it.
January 28, 2014
Thousands of books have examined the effects of parents on their children. But almost none have thought to ask: What are the effects of children on their parents? In All Joy and No Fun, award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior tries to tackle this question, isolating and analyzing the many ways in which children reshape their parents' lives, whether it's their marriages, their jobs, their habits, their hobbies, their friendships, or their internal senses of self. She argues that changes in the last half century have radically altered the roles of today's mothers and fathers, making their mandates at once more complex and far less clear. Recruiting from a wide variety of sources—in history, sociology, economics, psychology, philosophy, and anthropology—she dissects both the timeless strains of parenting and the ones that are brand new, and then brings her research to life in the homes of ordinary parents around the country. The result is an unforgettable series of family portraits, starting with parents of young children and progressing to parents of teens. Through lively and accessible storytelling, Senior follows these mothers and fathers as they wrestle with some of parenthood's deepest vexations—and luxuriate in some of its fi nest rewards. Meticulously researched yet imbued with emotional intelligence, All Joy and No Fun makes us reconsider some of our culture's most basic beliefs about parenthood, all while illuminating the profound ways children deepen and add purpose to our lives. By focusing on parenthood, rather than parenting, the book is original and essential reading for mothers and fathers of today—and tomorrow.