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French Children Don't Throw Food Hardcover – 19 Jan 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 223 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (19 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385617615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385617611
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.3 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (223 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 174,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Fascinating... gripping... extremely funny... A desperately needed corrective to received wisdom about child-rearing and what having children is supposed to do to a woman's sense of self. I loved it. It made me want to move to Paris" (India Knight The Sunday Times)

"Self-deprecating, witty, informative... But however much she admires "the easy, calm authority" French parents seem to posess, will Druckerman manage it herself? Her efforts to do so add a compelling narrative to this fascinating study of French parenting" (Michele Hanson Guardian)

"Observant, dryly entertaining... In recounting how her three children went native, Druckerman is engagingly self-deprecating... This book is worth its price for the crucial information it reveals about how to win the sleep wars" (Amanda Craig Daily Mail)

"Fascinating and enlightening... Druckerman's observations struck me as Eureka discoveries that could improve interaction between adults and children here" (The Lady)

"I couldn't put it down! Smart, funny, provocative, and genuinely eye-opening" (Amy Chua, Author Of "Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother")

Book Description

The number one Sunday Times bestseller, the book all parents are talking about.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book - it was written with humour, but interesting observations on different approaches to child-rearing in Britain/America and France. I wish I had read the bit about ignoring wakeful spells in their sleeping when my children were young -and I might have managed a full night's sleep before my eldest was five years old and the youngest two and a half!
Lots of the ideas put forward as used by French parents were thought-provoking, like making them wait before responding to their demands, not 'pushing' them or expecting too much of them - but my children have grown up into successful, friendly, sociable adults and the writer seems to find many French adults distant and unfriendly and we know that the French have a reputation for disliking authority, so which way is right?
Most children grow into youngsters who eat a variety of foods and don't throw their food at the table so why worry?
A good read though.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recently bought this book as I live in France and am expecting a child. It is an entertaining read, and I believe that is all it is meant to be. However the author's view on France is incredibly narrow and became increasingly frustrating. It is a shame that she insisted on generalising so much when her contact with France and the French seems to be very limited, she mixes with a small section of wealthy and educated Parisians. Comparing Parisians to the rest of France is silly and shortsighted. Londoners do not represent the UK, nor do New Yorkers America.

Some of her facts about France's views on baby rearing are incorrect. She claims that in France practically nobody breastfeeds and it is not considered beneficial. That is untrue on the RSI website it states very clearly that breast is best, should be done (if possible) for the 1st 6 months and going back to work was not a reason to stop.

I also find her generalisations about Anglophones frustrating as again I don't think that her experience of British people has much depth. Admittedly she is married to a Brit, but he was brought up in Holland and so possibly not a true representative. Some of the things that she seemed to be amazed about in France are also common place in the UK.

All in all it is an entertaining book with a couple of good pointers, but be aware that there is a lot of generalisation and so should be taken with a large pinch of salt.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The reviews I had read here almost put me off this book. Then the opening chapter made me think the author and I were polar opposites.. She loves ' best friends guide to pregnancy' and I hated it,, she didn't like ' what to expect when you're expecting' but I liked it.
I read this just before I (an Irish woman) moved from the UK to Luxembourg. I had a 20 month old with another on the way. It gave me a great insight to how the French regard upbringing their children... And the Luxembourgers aren't dissimilar. The crèches are run in the same way, with particular regard to mealtimes. I have adopted some of the advice such as little or no snacking between meals, and giving a course of vegetables before dinner while my daughter is hungry. My daughter now greets sales assistants, babysitters etc.. With bonjour, and says merci and au revoir after every interaction. Indeed as an adult, it has taught me to be more respectful and greet people in a courteous, polite manner. It's amazing the difference in experience.
I probably docked one star as its a little anecdotal, but still a good read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beneath a cloak of chatty prose and self-deprecating humour, Pamela Druckerman offers an incisive commentary on child-rearing in France. An irritating American with an irritable British husband (her words, not mine!), she experiences first-hand the differences in cultural, linguistic and performative expectations, covering everything from assumptions about pregnancy, to the socialisation of toddlers, and, of course, plain good manners. Embedded in the text are other stories, of raising bilingual children and of expat mothers in Paris, commiserating over French weirdness and tipping each other off as to where they can buy Marmite and Frazzles.

This is no hatchet job on Anglophone maternity, nor is it a hagiography of French methods. Druckerman is far too smart for that, and even takes time out to investigate how many "American" methods have already been lifted from abroad. Discreet references at the back of the book ground her comments firmly in real research and childcare philosophy, stretching all the way back to Rousseau. Plenty of food for thought, and none of it thrown.

However, since the French are not above dishing out smacks, perhaps someone would like to spank the design department for the ridiculously twee dust jacket, which serves little purpose and ended up in the bin shortly after I acquired the book.
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Format: Hardcover
As a Parisian living in the UK, I'm fed up of hearing cliches about 'the French' all day long, or of seeing people pose as experts on 'Frenchness' when they cannot speak French and their whole experience of France is summed up by a couple of holidays there.
Patricia clearly falls in the latter category. Some French kids do throw away food, some of them do eat junk food and snack between meals, some of them do take recreational drugs and binge-drink and are sexually promiscuous. Oh, and parents are hardly relaxed: those who work worry about losing their jobs and do crazy hours (especially in Paris with the ocmmute), those who do not have jobs try frantically to find one (except if they're a social worker's little protege), and everybody worries about paying the bills. As the job market is very competitive, parents worry a lot about their kids' school results and push them as much as possible: paying for home tuition in the evening (a very lucrative business), making them take a year's advance at school, sending them to private schools... Babies due in January are often delivered by C-section in December: it makes it easier to make them enter kindergarten (and then primary school) a year early. As to breastfeeding, Rousseau and Vichy were very much in favour of it. The problem is that maternity leave lasts only 4 months in France, and as work conditions are so hard, women tend to start their leave during their 6th month or so or pregnancy, and then come back to work 2 weeks/1month after the baby is born. So breastfeeding is not an option.
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