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All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood Paperback – January 20, 2015

4.4 out of 5 stars 316 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Salted with insights and epigrams, the book is argued with bracing honesty and flashes of authentic wisdom…[an] excellent book.” (―Andrew Solomon, The New York Times Book Review)

“Always generous in tone, Senior is a keen observer of the impact children have on their parents’ marriages, mental health, work, and social lives, and she makes deft use of social-science research...the book’s most useful contribution may be the connection it makes between joy...and, surprisingly, grief.” (―The New Yorker)

“[An] astute book… clear and helpful… refreshing…an eye opening debut, and it will help a lot of parents feel less alone, if not less frazzled.” (―Janet Maslin, The New York Times)

“An important book, much the way The Feminine Mystique was, because it offers parents a common language, an understanding that they’re not alone in their struggles, and an explanation of the cultural, political, and economic reasons for them.” (―Christian Science Monitor)

“Jennifer Senior’s excellent new book… is not prescriptive. She doesn’t tell parents to be more mindful or drink more wine or neglect their kids; she just wants them to understand why they are always so stressed out.” (―Hanna Rosin, Slate)

“A quick, lively read...[Senior’s] carefully observed case studies of modern families read like scenes from novels.” (―San Francisco Chronicle)

“Senior’s wise compassion provides guidance that’s both necessary and inspiring.” (―Boston Globe)

“Attention childless persons: If you’re thinking of having kids, and are looking for an accurate assessment of the experience, disregard the holiday cards you may have received that portray merry families in various stages of triumph. Instead, read Jennifer Senior’s book. This eloquent read is a tonic” (―Huffington Post)

“[ALL JOY AND NO FUN is a] richly woven, entertaining, enlightening, wrenching and funny book.” (―Washington Post)

“[The] glimpses into the conundrums of other parents are thought-provoking and fun to read” (―Newsday)

From the Back Cover

The instant New York Times bestseller that the Christian Science Monitor declared "an important book, much the way The Feminine Mystique was, because it offers parents a common language, an understanding that they're not alone"

Thousands of books have examined the effects of parents on their children. But almost none have thought to ask: What are the effects of children on their parents?

In All Joy and No Fun, award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior analyzes the many ways children reshape their parents' lives, whether it's their marriages, their jobs, their habits, their hobbies, their friendships, or their internal senses of self. She argues that changes in the last half century have radically altered the roles of today's mothers and fathers, making their mandates at once more complex and far less clear. Recruiting from a wide variety of sources—in history, sociology, economics, psychology, philosophy, and anthropology—she dissects both the timeless strains of parenting and the ones that are brand new, and then brings her research to life in the homes of ordinary parents around the country. The result is an unforgettable series of family portraits, starting with parents of young children and progressing in later chapters to parents of teens. Through lively and accessible storytelling, Senior follows these mothers and fathers as they wrestle with some of parenthood's deepest vexations—and luxuriate in some of its finest rewards.

Meticulously researched yet imbued with emotional intelligence, All Joy and No Fun makes us reconsider some of our culture's most basic beliefs about parenthood, all while illuminating the profound ways children deepen and add purpose to our lives. By focusing on parenthood, rather than parenting, the book is original and essential reading for mothers and fathers of today—and tomorrow.


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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
316 customer ratings
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Top international reviews

Craig Millar
5.0 out of 5 stars So glad I read this inspiring book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 19, 2018
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Michael S
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 30, 2019
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Mr. M. R. Wotton
4.0 out of 5 stars Well researched and well referenced
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 16, 2014
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Patricia Bright
4.0 out of 5 stars Book of useful tips
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 28, 2015
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Katie
4.0 out of 5 stars Very American
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Edith
5.0 out of 5 stars A basic read if you want to know how to hack modern parenting
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Aare
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Reviewed in Germany on April 26, 2014
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Kay Hansen
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend!
Reviewed in Canada on June 7, 2014
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MARIA JOSE RIVERO
5.0 out of 5 stars Refrescante
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Bibliovore
4.0 out of 5 stars Très bien documenté
Reviewed in France on August 27, 2015
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Becky Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars The only book that has ever explained how motherhood feels for me
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 9, 2014
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Kram Ekosum
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun to read and a joy to learn.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 5, 2015
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May
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a parenting book worth reading
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 16, 2017
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John A. Mcdonald
5.0 out of 5 stars A very impressive read with excellent research. This book is not about children but ...
Reviewed in Canada on September 11, 2014
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Emilie
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Reviewed in Canada on September 8, 2014
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