In a word, this memoir is triggering in the best way. The author reflects on life in middle age, when things happen that remind us just how unstable life can be and all the anxious thoughts that follow those moments. She touches on big moments like 9/11 and the pandemic as well as personal moments like her son’s first seizure and epilepsy diagnosis as a teenager.
The writing isn’t quite chronological, but flows from one memory to another through themes and observations on life in the middle. It feels like sitting across from someone in a coffee shop. At the end of the book, I just wanted to hang out with Mary Laura in the best way. I wanted to say (and did on frequent occasion), “Me, too. I’ve had those thoughts and fears and it’s good to know I’m not alone.”
It was also a nice look into the next decade for me. This author is almost 10 years old and in a different season of life, and yet was still completely relatable in facing challenging times as well as giving me a peek into things to come. This is definitely a book I will be keeping on my shelf for reference and reminder. I would recommend this to women facing unexpected moments in their life or just approaching or living in the middle-age season.
I have been curious about this book for a while, so since I’ve been reading parenting philosophy books lately, I thought this was the perfect time to read this one.
This book is parts memoir and French history with a bit of practicum added to it. Overall, it was quite interesting, however, there were parts of it (especially the first two chapters) that I found myself constantly rolling my eyes. I can definitely see where some readers would come to the conclusion that she is berating American mothers while putting French mothers on a pedestal.
But I do think there were also some good takeaways from the book as well. I really liked taking on the perspective of educating your child on social norms instead of trying to make them behave. Of course, encouraging individual play and allowing them to discover the world instead of obsessing about milestones was something I want to incorporate into my own parenting as well. I also enjoyed the recipes and play ideas, as well as some of the discipline perspectives.
It’s not a bad book that berates Americans. I read it as a woman’s journey having and raising kids in a foreign country, and how that affected her parenting and her children. Reading it as more of a memoir than a parenting book helps adjust to a more curious perspective. Good, interesting read!