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All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood Paperback – January 20, 2015
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“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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Author Jennifer Senior holds true to this promise. She presents research, but no solutions.
This book is good if you are struggling with parenting, and looking to commiserate. But, not helpful if you are looking for ways to overcome these challenges.
I would consider this a valuable read for someone wanting to understand parenting from an outside perspective. However, as a parent, it seems unnecessary to have the problems spelled out with no proposed solutions.
Top international reviews
I loved the extensive research that informed the book.
I'd recommend this book to parents who are feeling a little beaten up by the day to day challenges of parenting. It will help you find a new level of interest and inspiration.