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It's a Boy: Women Writers on Raising Sons [Paperback]

Andrea J. Buchanan
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

21 Oct 2005
The most popular question any pregnant woman is asked -- aside from "When are you due?" -- has got to be "Are you having a girl or a boy?" When author Andrea Buchanan, already a mom to a little girl, was pregnant with her second child, she marveled at the response of friends and total strangers alike: "Boys are wonderful," "Boys are so much better than girls," "Boys love their mothers differently than girls." This constant refrain led her to explore the issue herself, with help from her fellow writers and moms, many of whom had had the same experience. The result is It's A Boy, a wide-ranging, often-humorous, and honest collection of essays about the experience of mothering boys. Taking on topics like aggression, parenting a teenage boy, and wishing for a daughter but getting a son, It's A Boy explores what it's like to mother sons and how that experience may be different, but no less satisfying, than mothering girls.

Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group (21 Oct 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580051456
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580051453
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 13.9 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,375,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Long before I got pregnant, I began to fantasize about my imaginary daughter. Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I really enjoyed this collection of essays on raising sons. I have three of them myself and was very excited to get my hands on this book that tells the tales of mothers and their challenges and joys when raising their sons from conception to the dreaded teenage years. There were obviously some essays that I enjoyed more than others such as Susan Ito's "Samuel" about a woman and the son she never had. "Things You Can't Teach" by Katie Kaput a transgender woman trying to raise a son, "Pretty Baby" by Catherine Newman a hilarious essay about a woman trying to raise a son without the confines of societal norms and Jacquelyn Mitchard's "The Day He Was Taller" a touching essay about the day she realized her son was becoming a man. All of these above mentioned essays made me laugh or cry and I thoroughly enjoyed them all.

So one may wonder if I liked all of these essays so much why am I only giving the book three stars. Well that is because many of the essays despite being fairly entertaining did not touch me...I could not relate. The beginning essays mostly focused on women's disappointment at learning they were having a boy. Now, trust me when I tell you no one has wanted a little girl more than I did and when I found out I was having twin boys after already having a three year old son I was a bit miffed to say the least. However, no matter how much I wanted a girl I never cried over the fact that I was having boys, my disappointment did not run as deep as many of these women's seemed to have at the news of a boy. I was just happy to be having healthy babies. So on this issue while I could totally understand, I couldn't completely relate.

Also, many of these women writers wanted to raise their sons to be free of the confines society forces on boys.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a clunker in the bunch 11 Jan 2006
By Debra Hamel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Thirty essays by writers who are the mothers of sons comprise this collection edited by Andrea J. Buchanan. (Buchanan, herself the mother of a boy and girl, contributed the eponymous essay "It's a Boy!") The essays are divided among four sections, which, briefly put, explore topics related to "prenatal boy apprehension," the "otherness" of boys, gender expectations, and the transition of boys to manhood. Some of the essays are humorous, some poignant, some thoughtful, and readers will undoubtedly have their own favorites. But there really isn't a clunker in the bunch.

Among the more affecting essays in the collection are Susan Ito's "Samuel," about the baby boy she was forced to abort only two weeks before he would have been viable, and Susan O'Doherty's "The Velvet Underground," in which the author chronicles the lesser heartbreak of her son's emotional scarring at the hands of his insensitive playmates. Jacquelyn Mitchard's reflections on her son's transition to manhood ("The Day He Was Taller") are unexpectedly poignant, while Jennifer Lauck's "It Takes a Village" was simply chilling--in fact unputdownable.

Catherine Newman touches on the subjects of gender expectations and homosexuality in her sweet, amusing essay "Pretty Baby." She writes about the various reactions people have to seeing her son wearing his favorite color, bright pink:[...]

Boys are famous for having penises, of course, and they come in two basic styles. In her amusing essay "Making the Cut" Jamie Pearson recounts the arguments she and her husband had over the circumcision question prior to her son's birth: [...]

Among the more thought provoking essays--because you probably never thought about the issue it raises before--is Katie Kaput's "Things You Can't Teach." She writes about the peculiar difficulties she faces as a transsexual girl with a son who might or might not be--not that there's anything wrong with it--"light in the diapers." Kaput is keenly aware of the likelihood that any non-straight behavior exhibited by her son will be blamed on her. But she learns that her son "far from being an empty vessel for my unintentional brainwashing vibes, was his own little guy." It's a simple truth so many of the mothers in this book have been happy to learn from their children.

In addition to the authors mentioned above, It's a Boy contains essays by the following: Stephany Aulenback, Karen E. Bender, Kathryn Black, Robin Bradford, Gayle Brandeis, Faulkner Fox, Katie Allison Granju, Ona Gritz, Gwendolen Gross, Melanie Lynne Hauser, Marrit Ingman, Suzanne Kamata, Caroline Leavitt, Jody Mace, Jennifer Margulis, Marjorie Osterhout, Lisa Peet, Jodi Picoult, Maura Rhodes, Rochelle Shapiro, Kate Staples, and Marion Wink.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable collection of essays on raising sons. 9 July 2008
By DevJohn01 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I really enjoyed this collection of essays on raising sons. I have three of them myself and was very excited to get my hands on this book that tells the tales of mothers and their challenges and joys when raising their sons from conception to the dreaded teenage years. There were obviously some essays that I enjoyed more than others such as Susan Ito's "Samuel" about a woman and the son she never had. "Things You Can't Teach" by Katie Kaput a transgender woman trying to raise a son, "Pretty Baby" by Catherine Newman a hilarious essay about a woman trying to raise a son without the confines of societal norms and Jacquelyn Mitchard's "The Day He Was Taller" a touching essay about the day she realized her son was becoming a man. All of these above mentioned essays made me laugh or cry and I thoroughly enjoyed them all.

So one may wonder if I liked all of these essays so much why am I only giving the book three stars. Well that is because many of the essays despite being fairly entertaining did not touch me...I could not relate. The beginning essays mostly focused on women's disappointment at learning they were having a boy. Now, trust me when I tell you no one has wanted a little girl more than I did and when I found out I was having twin boys after already having a three year old son I was a bit miffed to say the least. However, no matter how much I wanted a girl I never cried over the fact that I was having boys, my disappointment did not run as deep as many of these women's seemed to have at the news of a boy. I was just happy to be having healthy babies. So on this issue while I could totally understand, I couldn't completely relate.

Also, many of these women writers wanted to raise their sons to be free of the confines society forces on boys. Which is all well and good but I cannot, personally, relate to letting my son wear earrings and necklaces to preschool just because he felt like it. I cannot conceive of buying my son pink clothes and shoes from the girls section of the store just be cause he really likes pink and I don't tend to give my sons dolls over trucks because I want them to be more open minded. I am just not one of those mothers so again I couldn't relate.

Overall I think this is a good collection of essays centered around raising boys especially since there are not a lot out there like it. Therefore, I would recommend it to mothers of sons even if you cannot relate to all of the essays some are guaranteed to touch your heart.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, even for people who don't have boys 2 Dec 2005
By Martha Brockenbrough - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have two daughters, and It's a Boy comes as close as anything to be the son I'll never have. I can't begin to say how much I loved this book. The writing is varied and delightful, from the big names in the book to the people who've yet to be discovered by the masses. But even better is the insight each essay in the collection brings. It showed me that sons are every bit as dynamic, fragile, strong and loving as daughters. I plan to share this with all the mothers I know, and can't wait to read It's a Girl when it comes out in 2006.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Interesting and thoughtful 30 Dec 2005
By Sajmom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I was hoping this wouldn't be a book that conveyed the message that boys are more fun to raise than girls. And it wasn't-it was thoughtful and entertaining. Many different viewpoints on the experience of raising a boy. It celebrates the experience without putting down it's opposite. I really enjoyed this book. It covered issues I had wondered about and ones that hadn't occurred to me. It's great to hear thinking women exploring this topic. I have a girl and two boys, I'm really looking forward to the sequel.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE IT! 11 Nov 2005
By B. Long - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When I saw the cover of this book, I had a feeling I would love it. The picture of the little boy on the cover flexing his muscles is something I have seen my three sons do many, many times. When I opened it and started to read, wonderful memories flooded back of when my sons were younger. I laughed and cried almost simultaneously while reading several of the stories.

If you have sons, or have friends that have sons, this book is a must. I will be buying my friends who are mothers of sons this for Christmas.
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