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Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting [Kindle Edition]

Pamela Druckerman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (673 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $25.95
Kindle Price: $13.93
You Save: $12.02 (46%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

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

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.

Editorial Reviews


“Marvelous . . . Like Julia Child, who translated the secrets of French cuisine, Druckerman has investigated and distilled the essentials of French child-rearing. . . . Druckerman provides fascinating details about French sleep training, feeding schedules and family rituals. But her book's real pleasures spring from her funny, self-deprecating stories. Like the principles she examines, Druckerman isn't doctrinaire.”

Bringing Up Bébé is a must-read for parents who would like their children to eat more than white pasta and chicken fingers.”

(Fox News)

“On questions of how to live, the French never disappoint. . . . Maybe it all starts with childhood. That is the conclusion that readers may draw from Bringing Up Bébé.”

(The Wall Street Journal)

“French women don't have little bags of emergency Cheerios spilling all over their Louis Vuitton handbags. They also, Druckerman notes, wear skinny jeans instead of sweatpants.The world arguably needs more kids who don't throw food.”

(Chicago Tribune)

“I’ve been a parent now for more than eight years, and—confession—I’ve never actually made it all the way through a parenting book. But I found Bringing Up Bébé to be irresistible."


About the Author

Pamela Druckerman is a former staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal and has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Marie Claire. She lives in Paris with her husband and three children.

Product Details

  • File Size: 532 KB
  • Print Length: 298 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1594203334
  • Publisher: The Penguin Press; 1 edition (February 7, 2012)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005I4JG80
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,851 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
749 of 770 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As is the case with many books comparing American parenting styles with that of other countries, some potential readers have felt opinionated - even defensive - before even buying the book.While I certainly haven't concluded that French parenting is "right" and American parenting is "wrong", this intriguing book deserves a fair chance - one obtained by reading it - but some initial "reviews" were written by people who simply refused to read a book comparing American and French parenting techniques.

So what will will you find in Bringing Up Bebe? What makes this one worth a look?

To start with, the author, Pamela Druckerman, does not come off as someone who is crazy about France, let alone French parenting - at first. As she writes early on, "I'm not even sure I like living here" although she does change her tune later. She came to her opinions about French parenting slowly and she backs up her main points with plenty of research studies as well as techniques she learned from French parents and parenting authorities. As a result she concludes that "the French have managed to be involved without becoming obsessive. " They aren't waiting on their kids hand and foot and they don't assume that they have to push their children to succeed. Even so, she notes that she hadn't thought she was supposed to admire French parenting. So consider her a reluctant convert to French methods of parenting.

Druckerman observes that there doesn't appear to be a relentless drive to get babies and children to various lessons or such activities as early swimming lessons. A neighbor was content to let her children simply find ways to play, often with old toys or perhaps by exploring her outdoor environment.
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350 of 379 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't toss the bébé out with the bath water! February 23, 2012
I have to admit that I did not immediately want to read this book, since the article version I read online seemed very different from my own views about parenting. But my father bought it and lent it to me, and it turned out to be a very entertaining and easy read. Druckerman does a fabulous job building a narrative out of her experience and weaving together personal anecdotes with strong research. As a work of non-fiction, it is highly enjoyable to read and thought provoking.

However, there is no question this book will also be read as a "parenting book" rather than just a "book about parenting." And, it does, at points, venture into "parenting book" territory, even though Druckerman never uses the imperative tense or claims ultimate authority. But, she does consistently present "French parenting" in a very positive light, and in every contrast to American examples, French examples come out ahead. I have very little experience with this culture myself, so I certainly can't judge how consistent this parenting style actually is, so I have to take her word for that. It wouldn't surprise me that a centralized European nation would have a more consistent parenting style than the mish mash of approaches here in the states. Given that "French parenting" is always presented within a very reasonable seeming paradigm of success, there is definitely a feeling of "this is a very good way to do things" throughout.

And, certainly, the ideas that overlap with successful parenting in the U.S. (often called "authoritative" parenting in the states) seem good.
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256 of 278 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book February 8, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I am an active father of young kids. So, when I read the excerpt in the Wall Street Journal, I found Druckerman's thoughts about parenting squared with mine: does parenting really need to be an obsessive, combative and all-consuming endeavor? Is there another way in which parents can be fully committed to our children, teach them independence and even enjoy ourselves a bit.

I picked up the book and devoured it. The writing is highly approachable and even a bit funny. This is not a "how-to" book. It is a series of informed observations about how Parisians approach parenting. Druckerman shares anecdotes and then supports them with some research. There are no magic tricks; just a shift in behavior and approach that the author shares with us. Some of it makes great sense, for example, The Pause and Education instead of Discipline.

Even in the highly connected and flat world, observational skills and analysis of what may right in front of us can force us to reconsider what we do. Druckerman delivers a thoughtful, thought provoking and entertaining book.
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211 of 235 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How can you review a book you haven't read? February 8, 2012
By asketo
A lot of these one-star reviews are from people who haven't even read the book. Like other reviewers, I gobbled up this book in under 48 hours because it's simply that good. It's not a how-to manual. The author is not a doctor or self-proclaimed child-rearing expert. She's not telling anyone how to live their lives. The book is the story of her experience as an American mom in France, and what she learned as a result of her investigation into how the French raise their children. It's funny, charming, well-written--and in the first person. Let the WSJ and Today Show run with hyperbolic headlines if they must. But don't judge the book by that standard.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A very useful read when working on restoring a balance in your life...
If you are looking for a book on how to bring up and take care of a baby, this book isn't the best read. Read more
Published 8 hours ago by M. Gorbatsjova
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Great engaging read and good insight. One of the most pleasurable baby books I have.
Published 2 days ago by Chauncey Zalkin
5.0 out of 5 stars Having a baby should be FUN!!! Well, now it is.
I don't know how to explain what a God send this book was for my husband and I (though he won't admit it) but we are finally at the point where being with our child is fun instead... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Jessica Lehmann
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight!
Best parenting-ish book I've ever read. Druckerman's day-to-day observations are full of humor and are applicable to any parent, whether you have a newborn or a high schooler. Read more
Published 3 days ago by jend
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book - lots of good advice and insights
Awesome book - lots of good advice and insights. I'm re-reading it now that my son has arrived, and I'm finding even more useful things.
Published 6 days ago by Josie
2.0 out of 5 stars I expected better...
The first part of this book was pretty good. But the further I got into it, the more I realized this was more of memoir than a book of baby care. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Moonbeam
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy read with a different perspective
Fun read with a perspective that makes you think but how to implement some of the French ways are not clear if someone does not like in France and is not exposed to this kind of... Read more
Published 10 days ago by nosh
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Every American mother-to-be should read this.
Published 11 days ago by Pavlin Lange
5.0 out of 5 stars Changed my perspective about parenting for the better
Didn't expect to love this book, however, it completely changed my perspective about parenting. A great antidote to classic the anxiety provoking "What to Expect" series
Published 11 days ago by Alecia
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book
I was born and raised in Brazil and had the same education that the french parents do, I can relate a lot and agree with (almost) everything, I love this book, almost done reading... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Amazon Customer
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