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Child, Please: How Mama’s Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked Myself Hardcover – May 5, 2015

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A seriously funny skewering of our modern parenting culture (particularly white parenting) through the lens of an African-American journalist and mom of three."
—Heidi Stevens, The Chicago Tribune

“I loved this book, which—in the lightest, funniest way—acknowledges hard truths about race and parenting. In telling her story, and her mother's, Ylonda Gault Caviness brings an important, and charming, new voice to the parenting conversation. Her mama should be proud.”
—Claire Dederer, author of Poser
 
“A bold and ballsy, yet deeply honest, take on trying to raise kids in today's world of ‘mothering as an extreme sport.’ Ylonda was brought up by a no-nonsense, tough-love mama who, it turns out, got more than a few things right. Whether you're black or white, whether your kids are babies or adults, you're bound to find this book as fun to read as it is thought-provoking.” 
—Cathi Hanauer, author of Gone and Sweet Ruin and editor of The Bitch in the House
 
“Ylonda’s mama didn’t raise no fool. Smart enough to see the wisdom in her mother’s old-school parenting ways, the author suggests that newfangled approaches aren’t necessarily what they’re cracked up to be. Got your hands full raising children? Put yourself on ‘time out’ and read this insightful, often hilarious, book!”
—Monique Greenwood, former editor in chief of Essence, author of Having What Matters, and owner of Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast Inns
 
“Mothers of every color will laugh out loud and relate to Ylonda Gault Caviness's raw voice. Hilarious, moving, and blisteringly honest—you'll end the book feeling less alone than when you started!”
—Jill Smokler, author Confessions of a Scary Mommy
 

“In this ever busier and more complex world, Ylonda Gault Caviness has invited us to take a breath with her, a moment to assess not only who we are, but how we became the women we are. Ultimately, this book is the story of the right to claim not only motherhood and mother wit, but the full expanse of what it means to be a woman—including the right to roll your eyes and say, 'Child, please!'”
—asha bandele, author of The Prisoner's Wife
 
"A poignant and rich celebration of the spectrum of black motherhood—from our old-school mamas to modern-day sensibility—that harks back to the cherished wisdom of a bygone era."
—Kuae Kelch Mattox, national president of Mocha Moms, Inc.

“A real treasure. . . Ylonda is an engaging voice with smart, timely advice. She's informative and credible—but never boring or stuffy. I love her point of view.”
—Celeste Headlee, host of NPR’s “The Takeaway”

“Wise and entertaining, Child, Please combines the keen insights of a journalist and the humor of a good girlfriend. . . A must read.”
Michele Borba, author of 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know and TODAY contributor

"Ylonda Caviness is a mom who has been-there-and-done-that and knows how to convert that wisdom into words. Her entertaining, yet comforting voice is just what today's moms need to help put parenthood into perspective."
—Dr. Ari Brown, pediatrician and author of the Baby 411 book series

About the Author

Ylonda Gault Caviness, former senior producer at www.iVillage.com’s Pregnancy and Parenting section—the largest women’s website with 37 million monthly views—has been a parenting journalist for more than a decade. She has written for Redbook, Health, Parenting, Pregnancy, and other magazines and websites.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee (May 5, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399169962
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399169960
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #677,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When racism isn't a factor in life one must at least recognize there was a time and a place when it was. That said, in response to the cryptic one star review referencing racism, I absolutely disagree. If anything this book is largely about culture, specifically the culture of going to seventy outside sources to tell you how to be a good parent. Many times instinct and lessons from those who have been through it are a better source for the struggling parent. Further it really does take growing up to empathize with what our parents went through, to fully appreciate their actions and reactions, particularly single parents. We may continue to disagree with our parents but as adults and now equals in a sense we can go beyond the pushback that comes naturally when we are young (and think we know much more than mom or any other adult).

I thought the book was great as it touched on race (just because you close your eyes doesn't mean the issue goes away), culture, differences between man and woman, plight of working mothers, and more, in a really funny and truthful way. I also felt it spoke to mothers in general, race not withstanding.

I personally liked it a lot and spent my Mother's Day reading it. So yeah...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Loved it..brought back memories of things my mom would say to me as a child growing up..
The unspoken rules ,words and sisterhood that African American women share..
Everything old is new again...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A fun read -- one that will spark thoughtful debate about whether our obsession with perfect parenting is unhealthy for kids AND parents.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I laughed at the descriptions of her experiences with playgroups and mom groups, parenting advice gurus, and her epiphany that there is no one correct way to raise a child. There are no easy answers and so much of it is OJT. There is no advice here, just honest sharing. Interesting intimate view of parenting reflections juxtaposed against her own upbringing.
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Format: Hardcover
There were times I really enjoyed this collection of essays from family and parenting columnist and blogger Ylonda Gault Caviness. Her personal and funny perspective on being a black American woman, wife and mother is interesting. But as a whole the collection is weakened by including, especially in the second half of the book, meandering and pointless anecdotes about past conversations or family members' personalties. For instance, blow by blow of a conversation she has with her hair stylist...complete with the "hilarious" songs they would just bust out with. Well...laughing with friends is fun to experience, but a big yawn to read about. Perhaps a 300-page book is just not the best vehicle for this witty mom/writer to really shine and share her voice.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Anyone raised by an "old-school black mama" (as I was) knows how true the author's words are. Humor, laughter and poignancy abound in her book. Her storytelling just flows, and I found myself giggling, laughing, and saying "amen" and "how true" to the author's recollections of African American life. Immensely enjoyable!
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Format: Hardcover
Given the plethora of parenting "dos and don'ts" out there knowing the best advice to heed is somewhat overwhelming. This book is a refreshing and hilarious take on the subject. The author's openness and vulnerability about her journey is rare and a welcomed change. This book has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with one mother's long overdue realization that her own mother's love, wisdom and experience is all the "advice" she ever needed..
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I gave this to my daughter for her birthday and she went nuts. She really appreciated the book. She also reached out to the author who was shocked and appreciative.
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