The title of this book could lead one to believe that the author was implying having children is a bad thing, but that is not the aim of the book or the author. Jessica Valenti, a new mom and writer, looks at the societal views of why we have kids, what society says a parent should look like, the rights and roles of parents and non parents. It is a captivating book. I am a reader who tends to not stray from fiction frequently but this book was on the list that should be better known and I decided to give it a try. As a result, my opinion is I wholeheartedly agree.
Jessica Valenti states at the beginning of her book that her research and the ideas brought up in the book are controversial and she expects people to have strong reactions to it. She in fact believes they should, not so that they have to agree with her, but that they think about the material and form their own opinions. This sat well with me. Parenting, to have kids, to not have kids, to be a stay at home parent, to be a working parent, how to financially support a child, US business leave policies, and government contraception law all are stratifying choices that can elicit defensive stances. This book breaks down why there is so much defensiveness for any decision and how raising children in todays culture has changed so much. We no longer have children as a labor source for the farm, and we don’t view them as mini adults as we once did. Children now are seen as a source of love and completion of self for parents. The book discusses this search for fulfillment, but also how once we view parenting as a job instead of a relationship it is then seen as something that we either pass or fail at. I have only mentioned a few topics discussed.
What I enjoyed so much about this book is that is was well researched and did not include a lot of conjecture. She does relate some of her own stories and personal accounts but I did not find it to be agenda driven except for maybe pushing parents/moms to not be so judgmental of one another. For a topic I thought I had a decent handle on she challenged some of my beliefs and the reasons behind why I thought the way I did.
Emily Beresford narrated it well. At no time did I find myself irritated with her voice, she did not overdramatize the material, and she kept me engaged to the point I was finding excuses to do activities I could continue listening to the book.