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No Biking in the House Without a Helmet [Hardcover]

Melissa Fay Greene
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 15.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books (12 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374223068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374223069
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 16.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,017,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

No Biking in the House Without a Helmet With four children of their own, Atlanta journalist Greene and her husband, a criminal defense attorney, gradually adopted five more--one from Bulgaria and four from Ethiopia--to create a roiling, largehearted family unit. Full description

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great sense of humour 30 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An great read about a very unusual family.

The basic story is that a family was increased to 9 children by adoption, with different languages and cultures. I felt that the book was too short (despite being a "normal" size), and that it did not follow each child in enough depth. Maybe 9 children in one book is expecting too much?

Anyway, it is a very enjoyable read, and it is obvious that the children within the family benefit enormously from having each other.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  88 reviews
48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life on the bright side 12 April 2011
By Judith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As the Kirkus Review so aptly put it, this is "an upbeat chronicle of a life that has been lived on the bright side of the road, its ruts beveled by naked love." Having known and loved this family for 20 years, having been along with them for the ride, I have to admit to a certain partiality. So I leave it to others to be objective and I think their reviews give credence to my not-impartial enthusiasm for this author and her remarkable abilities as a story teller. It comes naturally to her -- conversations on walks around the neighborhood, on breezy screen porches, over makeshift dinners or gala Passover seders over the years, have been full of tears and laughter -- mostly laughter -- as Melissa has shared the stories of her parenting journey, many of which are beautifully captured in this book. My son, an only child, had the remarkable good luck to be great friends with Melissa's #3 Lee. We lived just down the street so his younger life was lived between the quiet of our household and the raucous fun at the Greene-Samuel's. Even our lone pet, Lulu the huge Golden Retriever, knew where to find the party when she was so inclined, and considered little Frannie, the Rat Terrier, to be her best friend. Somehow, the concept of overwhelm hasn't made it into Melissa's or Donny's consciousness. There was always time to work on science projects, put together Halloween costumes, write amazing books, cook dinner, visit with friends, cheer at soccer games, soothe hurts, do the laundry -- lots of laundry, care for aging parents, and pick up the phone to call me whenever Lulu wandered over to let me know not to worry. Being privy to this way of living has the potential to make a regular person feel inadequate! But the good-humored, big-hearted humanity that earnestly radiates from this family always leaves me inspired and hopeful and encouraged that there are people like this on this earth. For years I've been hoping Melissa would take her own extraordinary life and family as the subject for her writing, understanding that she would need to strike a balance between candor and delicacy. Now she's done it and she's done it respectfully, thoughtfully and brilliantly. You are in for a treat!
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, Wise, Inspiring 12 April 2011
By KLreader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is an absolute treasure. I couldn't put it down. It is that rare combination of laugh-out-loud humor and profound wisdom delivered in fresh, sparkling prose. I don't have adopted kids or a large family but I found it richly relevant and inspiring. Greene is an astute observor and nudges the reader into paying more attention to the small lively details of ordinary life. Her love and enthusiastic enjoyment of her family, even when things aren't going well, and her exuberant love of life is infectious. I didn't want the book to end. Tolstoy once wrote that the highest purpose of art is to help people love life. This book offers that gift page by page, along with valuable insights about how to love those closest to you.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great writing--and what a story! 12 Mar 2011
By S. Kay Murphy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Kudos to Greene on this book. This is the first time I've read any of her writing, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style.

And right here is where I must disclose my own bias: I have three adopted children myself. I did not adopt internationally, but believe me, I know the challenges that come with adopting kids who are... different. I appreciate Greene's candor in telling her tale, especially in regard to issues such as post-adoption depression and just plain having second thoughts. Blending a family--even when the kids are simply step-sibs--can be trying.

Greene shares her experience with love, honesty, wit, charm and compassion. This is a beautifully written book. During the week I was reading it, I looked forward to coming home from work each day, making a cup of tea, and reading of her adventures with her children. No Biking in the House is a delightful memoir that I will be recommending to friends and family members!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down! Enchanting, inspiring and hilarious! 13 April 2011
By J. Norry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My copy of No Biking in the House without a Helmet arrived on Monday and I did not put it down until I finished it. I relate to the reviewer who felt she was neglecting her own kids to read it. Thinking I would have time to read some while waiting in carpool Monday afternoon, I was disappointed when they brought me my kids right away. So, I held the book in my lap and I read it at red lights!

The book is delightful and enchanting in every possible way. I've always loved Melissa Fay Greene's writing. Her prose invites you in, makes you feel like the people she's writing about are your friends and neighbors. I remember feeling that way about Praying for Sheetrock, too. With "No Biking," I felt like I was in on the jokes, laughing and crying alongside her. I don't want to over or understate how funny this book is, because I certainly laughed a lot. My husband began to get seriously annoyed when I kept wanting to read funny parts aloud to him because he wants to read it himself. "Really, really, this part won't ruin the book for you!" stopped working after the half dozen times I invoked it. But while it is entertaining, and funny, and her ability to find humor where some of us might have missed it is a gift -- the book is so much more.

While I have two children, and not 9, I read the book as a mother and learned more about myself and what I aspire to be as a mother. With all the recent hoopla about the Tiger Mother in my mind while I read it, I thought "I want to be a Melissa Mother"--generous, honest, present, loving, pointing my children in the right direction and letting them be both their individual selves and an integral part of the family unit. I also read the book as a wife and was inspired by both the tenderness and the candor of the writer and her husband's relationship.

A few years back, I went to a lecture by a child psychologist about what makes a child a resilient child. There were a few, surprisingly simple, things that resilient children had in common. One was that they eat at least one meal a week with their whole family. The Greene-Samuel family has plenty of those--especially as she points out in the book, that no one has invited them over for dinner as a family since 1998! Another was that the children had heard the stories of their family's history and particularly it's ups and downs. With a gifted storyteller for a mother, and with her commitment to maintain her children's connections with their personal histories, their families, their Ethiopian and Romani and their Jewish communities--these will likely be some of the most successful and resilient children ever. Whether it's as writers, musicians or star athletes--I have a feeling we will hear more about these kids in the future.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book I've Read in a Long, Long Time!! 25 May 2011
By Loribee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This was just a great, great book, telling a wonderful story with excellent writing and humor. I liked it so much that I paced myself when reading it - I could have read it a lot faster, but I didn't want it to end.

It is the story of the author and her husband, their 4 biological children, and the additional 5 children they came to adopt - the first from Bulgaria, the rest from Ethiopia, but it is much more, too. There is the day-to-day life of the family, the story of each adoption, stories about each of the children, as well as the stories of the backgrounds of each adopted child, travels to help them see their histories, and even the successful search for the birth mother of one of the adoptees.

There is a lot of laughter, a bit of heartache, but most of all the stories are heart-warming. I ended up falling a little in love with Jesse, Lee, Lily and Helen especially. Lee is the biological son who volunteers at the orphanage in Ethiopia for the summer, AND the one who talks his parents into adopting the last 2 children. They were 2 brothers, the eldest was getting too old to be adopted, and Lee fell in love with him and his younger brother Yosef, and couldn't bear the idea that they would be left in the orphanage until they aged out. The adoption probably wasn't the wisest one because they already had an adoptive son approximatly Daniel's age, which is not supposed to be wise, and I'd say it did cause some problems down the road, but nothing this incredible family couldn't overcome. I was completely impressed by Lee's huge heart...his parents should be very proud.

Of course the parents have a LOT to be proud of - not least of which is their own selves, but also the awards, trophies, etc., and most of all the love that is so obvious in this family.

I am stingy with my stars, and rarely give 5, but this book more than deserved it! I would love to see a sequel or a movie (it would make a great movie if done right), and, well - if the sequel was started on right away, the kids would still be relatively young. I am so glad I was able to spend time with this very special family, and I highly recommend this book!
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