Bringing Up BÉbÉ by Pamela Druckerman

66%

22 Critic Reviews

. . .the reader may wonder if the wisdom is really so smart.
-Wall Street Journal

Synopsis

The secret behind France's astonishingly well-behaved children.

When American journalist Pamela Druckerman has a baby in Paris, she doesn't aspire to become a "French parent." French parenting isn't a known thing, like French fashion or French cheese. Even French parents themselves insist they aren't doing anything special.

Yet, the French children Druckerman knows sleep through the night at two or three months old while those of her American friends take a year or more. French kids eat well-rounded meals that are more likely to include braised leeks than chicken nuggets. And while her American friends spend their visits resolving spats between their kids, her French friends sip coffee while the kids play.

Motherhood itself is a whole different experience in France. There's no role model, as there is in America, for the harried new mom with no life of her own. French mothers assume that even good parents aren't at the constant service of their children and that there's no need to feel guilty about this. They have an easy, calm authority with their kids that Druckerman can only envy.

Of course, French parenting wouldn't be worth talking about if it produced robotic, joyless children. In fact, French kids are just as boisterous, curious, and creative as Americans. They're just far better behaved and more in command of themselves. While some American toddlers are getting Mandarin tutors and preliteracy training, French kids are- by design-toddling around and discovering the world at their own pace.

With a notebook stashed in her diaper bag, Druckerman-a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal-sets out to learn the secrets to raising a society of good little sleepers, gourmet eaters, and reasonably relaxed parents. She discovers that French parents are extremely strict about some things and strikingly permissive about others. And she realizes that to be a different kind of parent, you don't just need a different parenting philosophy. You need a very different view of what a child actually is.

While finding her own firm non, Druckerman discovers that children-including her own-are capable of feats she'd never imagined.


 

About Pamela Druckerman

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Pamela Druckerman is a former staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, where she covered foreign affairs. She has also written for The New York Times and The Washington Post, and appeared on the Today Show and NPR's Morning Edition, among many other outlets. She is the author of the international bestseller, Bringing up Bébé, and Lust in Translation, which was translated into eight languages. She has a master's degree in international affairs from Columbia, and lives in Paris.
 
Published February 7, 2012 by The Penguin Press. 298 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Feb 26 2012
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Critic reviews for Bringing Up BÉbÉ
All: 22 | Positive: 13 | Negative: 9

Kirkus

Excellent
Jan 01 2012

The author is a delightfully droll storyteller with an effortless gift of gab that translates well to the page.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Michele Hanson on Jan 13 2012

The result is this self-deprecating, witty, informative but slightly ambivalent bringing-up-baby book.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Elaine Sciolino on Feb 24 2012

Facts reported in Druckerman’s book sometimes get in her way.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Susannah Meadows on Feb 07 2012

Much of the so-called French child rearing wisdom compiled here is obvious.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Nov 28 2011

. . .ever engaging and lively to read.

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Wall Street Journal

Below average
Reviewed by Claire McHugh on Feb 07 2012

. . .the reader may wonder if the wisdom is really so smart.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Marcela Valdes on Feb 01 2012

Druckerman provides fascinating details about French sleep training, feeding schedules and family rituals. But her book's real pleasures spring from her funny, self-deprecating stories.

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Star Tribune

Excellent
Reviewed by Laurie Hertzel on Feb 10 2012

Druckerman neither sneers at nor fawns over the French way, but approaches the topic with high interest, prodding the advice with the curiosity of a great journalist, then writing it all down with the humor and detail of a great storyteller.

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The Economist

Below average
Jan 21 2012

Ms Druckerman’s France is a particularly narrow slice of bourgeois Paris.

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The Daily Beast

Excellent
Reviewed by Rebecca Dana on Feb 06 2012

. . .the only thing more satisfying than admiring the French is hating them. Bébé offers opportunities for both.

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Slate

Below average
Reviewed by Rachel Larimore on Feb 14 2012

Druckerman over-generalizes in describing “hyperparenting” as the definitive American parenting style.

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Chicago Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by Meghan Daum on Feb 10 2012

So while "Bringing Up Bebe" may wind up a hit, it's unlikely to be a sensation of Tiger Mom proportions.

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Forbes

Below average
Reviewed by Erika Ekiel on Mar 07 2012

Instead of capitalism and individualism, the book is filled with examples of children absorbing socialism.

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Los Angeles Review of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Susan Salter on Feb 25 2012

Okay! I get it! The French are better than us in every way! We suck at motherhood!

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Chicago Tribune

Excellent
Reviewed by Nara Schoenberg on Feb 28 2012

She makes a compelling case that the French emphasis on good manners, structure and balance produces happier, higher-functioning families.

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BuffaloNews.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Charity Vogel on Mar 03 2012

. . .parents of children who mind quite admirably well and know they are not the be-all, end-all of the universe, will read it in quiet understanding, and smile.

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The Wall Street Journal

Excellent
Reviewed by John Edwards on Feb 03 2012

Druckerman’s observations seem quite reasonable and appealing to me. . .

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The Baltimore Sun

Excellent
Reviewed by Susan Reimer on Feb 09 2012

A new American mother might find much to learn from Druckerman's observations of the French family. . .

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Excellent
Reviewed by John Allison on Feb 08 2012

Ms. Druckerman, meanwhile, is easy to like as she relays her insights with stylish humor.

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Christianity Today

Below average
Reviewed by Leslie Fields on Mar 06 2012

The style is annoyingly chatty, the evidence for both her allegations and her adulation largely anecdotal.

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San Francisco Chronicle

Excellent
Reviewed by Amy Graff

. . .she reveals her findings in this enjoyable read that’s both funny and thoughtful.

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Today's Moms (MSNBC)

Excellent
Reviewed by Sarah Maizes on Feb 07 2012

. . .an enjoyable and thoughtful read that researches and explains thoroughly why she believes the French have something valuable to say about parenting.

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Reader Rating for Bringing Up BÉbÉ
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