Top critical review
25 of 28 people found this helpful
lots of redundancy, but some useful advice
on September 25, 2008
When my son was about to be born, I panicked, because I thought I would not know how to give a good upbringing to a boy. I have only a sister and my husband is an only child. We discussed the issue a lot and we sometimes had different views on how to deal with boys, to do everything to make our son happy and fulfilled. So - we decided to buy a book and chose "The Wonder of Boys".
The book is not bad, but it is not very good. First of all, there is nothing new in the notion that boys are different from girls and that testosterone is physiologically responsible for these obvious differences, boys being more competitive and aggressive etc. Many things described by the author are obvious and instinctive. I would be happy to see more scientific dissection of the differences, something similar to "Brain Sex" by Anne Moir and David Jessel (a really valuable book, by the way), but with the focus on children and the education of boys.
The "old-new" rules of the boys' education and need for the male presence in their lives, the importance of the group, sports and discipline, are nicely presented at the beginning, but later on the book gets very repetitive, full of redundant information and artificially blown out of proportion. Maybe the purpose was to make the reader memorize the rules subconsciously (after all, it is one of the therapy principles, I think). For me, it just made the book boring and I could not help thinking it would be much more useful in a form of an article or essay. It seems to me more like an introduction to Gurian's guidelines, more developed in his later books on various aspects of the boys' character and education.
There is some advice I found good there, though: the rules for disciplining the boys at different stages of life, the details of the father's role, the discussion on spanking, the teaching of morals and spirituality. I could do without superficial examples from the world cultures.
I did not find this book particularly challenging for feminism, on the contrary, I think it presents reasonably the roles of both parents and the methods for building the family life beneficial for the offspring, which happens to be male.
Altogether, I rate "The Wonder of Boys" at three stars, it is neither outstanding, nor hopeless, but the useful advice needs to be extracted from a lot of meaningless words and the book could only benefit from being more concise and to the point.