This book was a huge fad a few years ago but I didn’t have a bebe to bring up at that point so I didn’t read it. Yesterday, though, I did and enjoyed it a lot.
For those who don’t know: the author is an American immigrant in Paris who discovered that the way her French acquaintances raise their children is vastly superior to what the hovering, anxious, ultra competitive and permissive American parents she knows do. I’ve never met any American parents who behave like the ones she describes. Everybody I know belongs to an intellectually sophisticated class, and we are all already “French parents.” But I like the book anyway because it’s fun to read about people you never met and can’t imagine knowing.
What I like about the author, Pamela Druckerman, is that she is a model immigrant. She is so excited about her new country, so happy to learn about it, so far removed from any attempt to lecture the locals on the right way to live, and so understanding of the fact that nobody in the new country owes her friendship, kindness and acceptance that one can only applaud her. Druckerman still practices her cultural rituals and hangs out with fellow immigrants but she understands that the children born in France should be free to absorb the French culture as much as they need to feel that they belong.
Whether temporary or permanent, migration can either be a source of growth and learning something new or a source of constant frustration if you convince yourself that it’s beneath you to adapt.