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Customer Review

on January 25, 2007
This book is phenomenal and I wish I could give it 10 stars. Not only is it smart, well-written and organized, and highly entertaining, it's also insightful and solution-oriented. I've read a number of books on marriage and parenting, but none that ever combined the two the result is one of the best books I've read in years.

This book will clearly be bought and read predominantly by women, but I'd say it gives near-equal billing to men (not bad for female authors) and does an excellent job of telling the male side of the story. The authors seem to truly empathize with the largely untold story of men having their worlds turned upside down (albeit not nearly as much as women) by parenthood. One day they are the center of their spouse's universe (and vice versa) and the next they are relegated to secondary status. The book does an excellent job of describing why this is necessarily (and temporarily) so. Simply stated, if moms didn't focus 100% of their attention on babies, the human species wouldn't survive. Similarly, if males were not so focused on sex (before and after having kids), the human species wouldn't survive either. This powerful idea arguably explains the bulk of male-female disconnect, post-kids.

Speaking of sex, the chapter on that subject is amazing and well worth the price of the book alone. The 5-minute fix, which some people might take issue with, is probably not for everyone. But it takes up 1 page out of nearly 300, and as with every suggestion in the book, it's soft-pedaled and clearly stated as something to think about rather than a strong recommendation.

The other chapters are full of excellent and entertaining advice - from managing in-laws and multiple kids to striving for life balance (yeah right). My favorite part of the book was the end, which provides heartwarming reflections from grandparents. Most importantly, early parenthood is JUST A PHASE, not unlike military boot-camp. If couples work hard TOGETHER and respect each other's needs and idiosyncrasies, the ultimate payoff is incredible, and your marriage can grow stronger due to parenthood.

I've read a number of blog reviews on the book and they seem to be overwhelmingly positive. There are a couple of negative reviews, which I suppose is to be expected from a book that's original and opinionated. The funny thing is, most of the controversial/offensive stuff in the book comes from interview quotes rather than the authors themselves. Anything that might come across as offensive is likely meant to be humorous (and this book is really funny). If anything, the authors are extremely balanced and non-judgmental, which is impressive given the controversial nature of the subject material. I can see where feminists might take issue with some of the content, but I see A LOT more here that feminists would embrace. Parts (as with any good book) require at least a somewhat open mind. That said, I think the political substance here is very very mainstream.

Anyone who's mildly curious as to the subject matter of this book owes it to themselves to give it a try. It's had a profound impact on how I think about marriage and parenthood, which will ultimately make me a better parent and a better spouse.
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