Parenting, Inc. by Pamela Paul

by beagooddad on May 30, 2008

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A while back, I managed to get an advanced reading copy of Parenting, Inc. which was written by Pamela Paul. For the record, one of my favorite things since I started blogging a couple and a half years ago is getting my hand on ARCs. There is something very cool about reading books that are not even for sale yet.

Anyway, I’m going to give the book away to a lucky reader but I’ll tell you about that at the end.

Parenting, Inc. looks at the commercialism of parenting in the modern world. Things like why we pay hundreds of dollars for a car seat when the one for $50 at Wal-Mart had to pass the same safety tests in order to be allowed to be sold and why we think we have to sign our kids up for art and music classes instead of just giving them crayons and pots and pans. She also discusses the time commitments that parents have to make to drag them around to all of the events that kids get enrolled in and why we as a culture have let ourselves guilt trip ourselves into doing all of it.

I loved the book. I’m a big fan of not constantly spending money and I think that most kids get way too many toys and way too much junk food and spend way too much time “preparing them for the real world” (including my own kids).

A lot of the case stories in the book seem to come from New York and California where everything is seriously expensive and over the top in mid Midwestern point of view. Some of the places that people take their kids so they have other kids to interact with and curriculum to learn just sound way off of my ritzy scale. Pamela does a great job of researching where trends like the uber-strollers and the Mommy & Me play dates came from and the marketing that made them a cultural mainstay. But there is definitely plenty of Midwestern coverage including how these trends are spreading into the heartland.

My absolutely only criticism of the book is that some of the chapters are very first person with her actually visiting stores and classes and describing first hand what happens and others are very third person with her given great historical context and research. Both styles are written very well but a couple times the shift in focus caught me off guard.

Other than that, the book reads very quickly with tons of details. At times Pamela seems just as shocked learning about some of the fads as you will be when you read about them.

Okay, so how can you get a copy of the book. First of all, it is available at bookstores and online. The ones you can buy are the real finished product after some final corrections were made on the version that I have.

Second, you can have my copy…well one of you, at least.

How you can win my copy of Parenting, Inc. by Pamela Paul.

On Saturday of next week I will pick one random comment from one of the posts that are posted between Monday and Friday. If that comment was written by you, then you win and I will contact you about where I should send the book.

There is only one restriction: the winner will not be anybody that I am related to or anybody that I have attended school with. Sorry friends and family. Just go buy your own copy.

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