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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Raising the Perfect Child Through Guilt and Manipulation is not one of those traditional, all-too-earnest parenting guides that, for generations, have sucked all the fun out of child rearing. The foundation of Elizabeth Beckwith's Guilt and Manipulation family philosophy is simple: We do things a certain way, and everyone else is an a**hole.

Is that something you should put on a bumper sticker and slap on your minivan? Of course not—that would be trashy. But in the privacy of your own home, you can employ these essential components of Guilt and Manipulation to mold the little runts ruthlessly yet effectively into children you won't be embarrassed to admit are yours:

  • Creating a Team: "Us" vs. "Them"
  • How to Scare the Crap Out of Your Child (in a Positive Way)
  • Don't Be Afraid to Raise a Nerd
  • Mind Control: Why It's a Good Thing

About the Author

Elizabeth Beckwith is a stand-up comedian, writer, and actress who lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Patrick, and her children, Michael and Frances.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; 1 Original edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061759570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061759574
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By N. Hawley on October 14, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book, Elizabeth's real life stories are so fun to read, they made me laugh out loud and yet, the lessons are so true. Being raised in Las Vegas going to Catholic School and being a Mom, I could totally relate to the "unspoken" parenting philosophy...stop reading reviews and buy the book already!!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Becaro on November 24, 2009
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I read this book expecting a spoof, or a parody. What I got was something better, a unique book that is equal parts side-splittingly funny observations on the author's singular upbringing, and practical, sensible parenting advice. Thrown in for the perfect balance was a small dash of sentiment and heart. David Sedaris is the only other humorist I know of that is able to cut ridiculously funny life with just the right amount of real emotion. I desperately hope this is the first in a long line of books by this author.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sheryl on October 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
Amidst the hilarious delivery, the reader will encounter logical, sound child-rearing strategies. How much more enjoyable this wonderful book is to read than the usual parenting tome!
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28 of 36 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Walsh VINE VOICE on December 9, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't know enough about comedy to know what it represents or how to "name" it, but Beckwith's book fits neatly with that genre of comedy that has exploded in the past ten or fifteen years (maybe beginning with Seinfeld?). Her book is part satire of parenting guide books, part pop culture criticism and at the same time is ultimately both a work of pop culture and a parenting book.

Like TV hits surfing Seinfeld's irreverent comedic wake (Bored to Death, Always Sunny, Arrested Development), Beckwith places you in an alternate universe that looks and feels very much like the "real world" with a two-way mirror through which she and the reader can gawk in amusement and make no end of snarky observations.

Like those shows, a lot of the time it works. But, ultimately the question is how much can you take? Like a conversation with that ceaselessly sarcastic friend for whom everything is turned on its head to become a joke, it can grow a little tiresome. For that reason, the book is best read in snatches.

That snark fatigue factor and the limited scope of interest (Hipster yuppies with youngish children are the sweet spot) do not take away from the fact that overall this is a very entertaining book, but it does knock it down to a three star for me -- though one I would strongly recommend. I bought several copies as gifts for couple friends of ours who are beginning to have children.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stacie Schorzman on May 3, 2010
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I enjoyed this book. Since I've read it, I've been purchasing it as gifts for new Moms and Moms-to-be. Even if you don't wish to use her techniques, you'll enjoy the read. (Maybe you have to be Catholic and/or Italian to "get it.")
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Patrick on October 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
I was reading my copy while having a latte at a local coffee shop. I received several stares from other customers as I literally laughed out loud. Elizabeth delivers her advice with great wit and hilarious stories.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By T. G. Kent on November 22, 2009
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I devoured this book in no time, laughing out loud from beginnning to end. Beckwith is smart, self-deprecating, deprecating, and above all, honest and HILARIOUS. This is the perfect book (whether you have kids or not) for anyone with a great sense of humor, strong family ties, and an appreciation for someone who can "tell it like it is." Beckwith says what so many of us think and feel (or realize that we think and feel while reading her book), and her delivery is top-notch. Beckwith is a serious talent -- there will be more to come from her!!!!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By SAM I AM on November 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you like smart, funny writing and your sick of parenting books along the lines of "The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy" etc, than you should check this out. Hell, if you like smart, funny writing yet you never plan to have kids, you should still check this book out. Beckwith is a talented writer who actually understands the importance of vivid storytelling no matter what the topic. Her writing is irreverent and is a much appreciated breath of fresh air for this parent.
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