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No Biking in the House Without a Helmet Hardcover – 12 Apr 2011

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--This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books; First Printing edition (12 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374223068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374223069
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,566,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

-Love knows no bounds--and no borders--in journalist Greene's ebullient valentine to her family of nine children . . . 'Who made you the Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe?' a friend quips, but Greene doesn't apologize. Instead, she shows what it means to knit together a family that 'steers by the light . . . of what feels right and true.'- --Caroline Leavitt, People (four stars)

-Readers . . . will find plenty of hilarity in this romping account of [Greene's] boisterous brood . . . [she] brings her well-honed research and reporting skills to this very personal story . . . this joy--experiencing it and conveying it to readers--is her greatest success.- --Suki Casanave, The Washington Post

-No Biking in the House Without a Helmet is [Melissa Fay Greene's] sprawling, imperfect, courageous and joyful account of the adoption process, warts and all--the heart-wrenching trips to orphanages, frustrating delays, visits with living relatives, and the way her family welcomed and made room for each child, as well as the inevitable homesickness and culture clashes and sometimes rocky emotional terrain . . . The moral of her story? Just the opposite of the title's warning. Don't be afraid to break the rules, to 'steer by the light of what makes us laugh, what makes us feel good'--especially if it means biking in the house, with or without a helmet. With deep compassion, sparkling humor and an unshakable faith in the power of the whoopee cushion, she leads the way.- --Gina Webb, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

-Moving, enlightening, and surprisingly funny ... No Biking in the House Without a Helmet ... folds an adoption primer into a meditation on family.- --Sara Nelson, O, The Oprah Magazine

-Joyful and big-hearted . . . This funny and frankly personal book is a departure for Greene, whose previous work has been sober and measured. The title sounds like a madcap domestic comedy in the tradition of Jean Kerr and Erma Bombeck, which it sometimes is. But Greene's humor is less acerbic, her persona less addled . . . Greene is such an open and self-deprecating narrator she makes every addition to her family seem like the most natural and beautiful move in the world, 'each child--whether homemade or foreign born--a revelation, a treasure.' The ability to write brilliant books with a houseful of children is clearly the least of Greene's gifts.- --Jennifer Reese, NPR.org

-There are funny parenting books and wise parenting books. Rarely a funny and wise parenting book. Melissa Fay Greene really does have nine children, five of whom were adopted from foreign orphanages--but this book isn't a treacly, multicultural 'Brady Bunch.' Neither moralistic nor preachy, this memoir is about what it's like to have heart, and grow children with heart. In another writer's less deft hands, children who herded goats in Ethiopia and then relocated to a big old house in Atlanta could have become a Southern Jewish version of Brad and Angelina. Greene captures the wild vicissitudes of her family's life and how individual difference enriches them all.- --Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune

-For the past 21 years Melissa Fay Greene has been raising nine children, both biological and adopted. In her memoir No Biking in the House Without a Helmet, she writes of the many parenting obstacles she has encountered, overcome, and met again as the rules change completely for her second wave of children. Talk about a story for the ages. - --Town & Country

-A truly heartfelt memoir . . . [Greene] resists the urge to be cloying, however, infusing each chapter with a strong dose of humor and not shying away from the difficulties presented by adopting older children . . . It's all one big, happy family but also a very real one. Call them the twenty-first-century Waltons, and revel in the joy they have found and brought home for keeps.- --Colleen Mondor, Booklist (starred review)

-Greene is a writer of emotional impact . . . Her words are flush with humanity and all the messiness and comedy that humanity trails in its wake. She goes the distance, which is a beautiful thing to behold . . . Eventually, an enveloping sweetness and involvement swept away all but what is elementally grand about being a parent and nursing a child. An upbeat chronicle of a life that has been lived on the bright side of the road, its ruts beveled by naked love.- --Kirkus Reviews

-Joy to the world. Line by glorious line, with raw honesty and unforced hilarity, Melissa Fay Greene tells the story of the true mega-family of the millennium, which is not some reality-show curiosity shop, but her very own nine children: those who came home from the hospital and those who came home from the airport. People often assure me that I'll laugh and cry reading a book. I may smile; I may feel a lump in my throat. But I wept a dozen times reading No Biking and woke my own kids up with my laughter, as I stayed up all night with this, the Cheaper by the Dozen for a new planet. Melissa Fay Greene never set out to raise the world, only to raise her children. With this book, she raises the bar, wherever the word 'family' is spoken, for every single one of us.- --Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and Second Nature: A Love Story

-The funniest part of this book is not the fact that several of Melissa Fay Greene's nine children were once Ethiopian goat herders. The funniest part is that she has nine children. She not only loves and appreciates every one, she brings them all to vivid life with affection, exasperation, candor, and (indispensable, under the circumstances) humor. I went from Are you kidding? to I love these people! in four pages flat.- --Marilyn Johnson, author of This Book Is Overdue!

-Brimming with humor and love, the story of Greene's ever-expanding family is both unique and universal. Not everyone watches a son spear a Frisbee in mid-flight or weave a bullwhip out of the suburban shrubbery. But everyone at some point asks what it means to be a parent, a sibling, a family. Greene answers these questions with wit and wisdom. I finished her book with a renewed conviction that it is possible to shrink this wide world and to begin to bridge the chasms that have opened between us.- --Geraldine Brooks, author of People of the Book and March

-About every five years, we get a book from Melissa Fay Greene. I've learned to wait for them eagerly, always excited to know what this thoughtful, sensitive writer is going to do next. Now--No Biking in the House Without a Helmet. That title tells you in no uncertain terms that you will laugh, but there's a lot more in these pages than humor, including Melissa's trademark generosity, optimism, winning self-deprecation, and high spirits. As a writer, a reader, and--like Melissa--the parent of an adopted child, I'm glad to know that this book will soon be out, and I hope it finds a very large audience.- --David Guterson, author of The Other and Snow Falling on Cedars



"Love knows no bounds--and no borders--in journalist Greene's ebullient valentine to her family of nine children . . . 'Who made you the Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe?' a friend quips, but Greene doesn't apologize. Instead, she shows what it means to knit together a family that 'steers by the light . . . of what feels right and true.'" --Caroline Leavitt, People (four stars)

"Readers . . . will find plenty of hilarity in this romping account of [Greene's] boisterous brood . . . [she] brings her well-honed research and reporting skills to this very personal story . . . this joy--experiencing it and conveying it to readers--is her greatest success." --Suki Casanave, The Washington Post

"No Biking in the House Without a Helmet is [Melissa Fay Greene's] sprawling, imperfect, courageous and joyful account of the adoption process, warts and all--the heart-wrenching trips to orphanages, frustrating delays, visits with living relatives, and the way her family welcomed and made room for each child, as well as the inevitable homesickness and culture clashes and sometimes rocky emotional terrain . . . The moral of her story? Just the opposite of the title's warning. Don't be afraid to break the rules, to 'steer by the light of what makes us laugh, what makes us feel good'--especially if it means biking in the house, with or without a helmet. With deep compassion, sparkling humor and an unshakable faith in the power of the whoopee cushion, she leads the way." --Gina Webb, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Moving, enlightening, and surprisingly funny ... No Biking in the House Without a Helmet ... folds an adoption primer into a meditation on family." --Sara Nelson, O, The Oprah Magazine

"Joyful and big-hearted . . . This funny and frankly personal book is a departure for Greene, whose previous work has been sober and measured. The title sounds like a madcap domestic comedy in the tradition of Jean Kerr and Erma Bombeck, which it sometimes is. But Greene's humor is less acerbic, her persona less addled . . . Greene is such an open and self-deprecating narrator she makes every addition to her family seem like the most natural and beautiful move in the world, 'each child--whether homemade or foreign born--a revelation, a treasure.' The ability to write brilliant books with a houseful of children is clearly the least of Greene's gifts." --Jennifer Reese, NPR.org

"There are funny parenting books and wise parenting books. Rarely a funny and wise parenting book. Melissa Fay Greene really does have nine children, five of whom were adopted from foreign orphanages--but this book isn't a treacly, multicultural 'Brady Bunch.' Neither moralistic nor preachy, this memoir is about what it's like to have heart, and grow children with heart. In another writer's less deft hands, children who herded goats in Ethiopia and then relocated to a big old house in Atlanta could have become a Southern Jewish version of Brad and Angelina. Greene captures the wild vicissitudes of her family's life and how individual difference enriches them all." --Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune

"For the past 21 years Melissa Fay Greene has been raising nine children, both biological and adopted. In her memoir No Biking in the House Without a Helmet, she writes of the many parenting obstacles she has encountered, overcome, and met again as the rules change completely for her second wave of children. Talk about a story for the ages. " --Town & Country

"A truly heartfelt memoir . . . [Greene] resists the urge to be cloying, however, infusing each chapter with a strong dose of humor and not shying away from the difficulties presented by adopting older children . . . It's all one big, happy family but also a very real one. Call them the twenty-first-century Waltons, and revel in the joy they have found and brought home for keeps." --Colleen Mondor, Booklist (starred review)

"Greene is a writer of emotional impact . . . Her words are flush with humanity and all the messiness and comedy that humanity trails in its wake. She goes the distance, which is a beautiful thing to behold . . . Eventually, an enveloping sweetness and involvement swept away all but what is elementally grand about being a parent and nursing a child. An upbeat chronicle of a life that has been lived on the bright side of the road, its ruts beveled by naked love." --Kirkus Reviews

"Joy to the world. Line by glorious line, with raw honesty and unforced hilarity, Melissa Fay Greene tells the story of the true mega-family of the millennium, which is not some reality-show curiosity shop, but her very own nine children: those who came home from the hospital and those who came home from the airport. People often assure me that I'll laugh and cry reading a book. I may smile; I may feel a lump in my throat. But I wept a dozen times reading No Biking and woke my own kids up with my laughter, as I stayed up all night with this, the Cheaper by the Dozen for a new planet. Melissa Fay Greene never set out to raise the world, only to raise her children. With this book, she raises the bar, wherever the word 'family' is spoken, for every single one of us." --Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and Second Nature: A Love Story

"The funniest part of this book is not the fact that several of Melissa Fay Greene's nine children were once Ethiopian goat herders. The funniest part is that she has nine children. She not only loves and appreciates every one, she brings them all to vivid life with affection, exasperation, candor, and (indispensable, under the circumstances) humor. I went from Are you kidding? to I love these people! in four pages flat." --Marilyn Johnson, author of This Book Is Overdue!

"Brimming with humor and love, the story of Greene's ever-expanding family is both unique and universal. Not everyone watches a son spear a Frisbee in mid-flight or weave a bullwhip out of the suburban shrubbery. But everyone at some point asks what it means to be a parent, a sibling, a family. Greene answers these questions with wit and wisdom. I finished her book with a renewed conviction that it is possible to shrink this wide world and to begin to bridge the chasms that have opened between us." --Geraldine Brooks, author of People of the Book and March

"About every five years, we get a book from Melissa Fay Greene. I've learned to wait for them eagerly, always excited to know what this thoughtful, sensitive writer is going to do next. Now--No Biking in the House Without a Helmet. That title tells you in no uncertain terms that you will laugh, but there's a lot more in these pages than humor, including Melissa's trademark generosity, optimism, winning self-deprecation, and high spirits. As a writer, a reader, and--like Melissa--the parent of an adopted child, I'm glad to know that this book will soon be out, and I hope it finds a very large audience." --David Guterson, author of The Other and Snow Falling on Cedars

--This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

About the Author

Melissa Fay Greene is the author of Praying for Sheetrock, The Temple Bombing, Last Man Out, and There Is No Me Without You. Two of her books have been finalists for the National Book Award, and New York University's journalism department named Praying for Sheetrock one of the top one hundred works of journalism in the twentieth century. She has written for The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The New York Times Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Good Housekeeping, Newsweek, Life, Reader's Digest, Redbook, and Salon, among others. She and her husband, Don Samuel, have nine children and live in Atlanta. --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

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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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 111 reviews
17 of 17 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 Jolyno - 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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for adoptive parents. 5 Jun. 2013
By Pat-a-Pat Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Originally I ordered this book to give to friends who are in the process of adopting a child from Haiti. As is true of many others in their situation, their journey has been one of equal parts hope and disappointment so when I saw the title, I thought this would give them a more humorous perspective. Before wrapping the book, I opened it to read the first chapter. I was hooked. This books makes you laugh, lets you cry, and, most importantly, causes you to think about the plight of the world's children and the lengths some people go to in order to be a part of the solution. I cheered for each adjustment and achievement made by one of the children described in the book--both those whom the author carried in her womb and those she carried in her heart. All families can be messy, but this one reveled in their messes and turned them into victories. I can't recommend this book more highly to anyone who has a heart for children.
27 of 28 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.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A role model for us all... 25 April 2011
By Heather - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dear Melissa (and future readers of this amazing book.)

Your book is...
well how can I put into words something that I am afraid to pick up, because then I just can't put it down. I read fast. I always have, my nickname as a small child was Bookie. My party trick was to pick up a book at age 2, turn it upside down and read it!
I don't want your book to end. I want to discover that instead of the 351 pages, it suddenly has 600 or even 900!!
Reality is, I am nearly at the end. Sigh.
Please let there be a sequel.

thank you. your adoring fan.

p.s. In case some readers are wondering... I do not work for any sort of publishing house etc. I am just a mom of three kids. Two of whom were born in Ethiopia....
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I shared this book out loud with our family! 22 May 2011
By P. Williams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a history buff, I have read all of Melissa Fay Greene's books. She is a fantastic writer - one who has kept me on the edge of my seat with her way of twists and turns and surprises. No Biking in the House without a Helmet was a different kind of book - a personal book - but not any less thrilling! Over the years, our families' lives have crossed paths here in Atlanta. We met at a local bookstore buying books for our older children. Our younger children have played on sports teams together. And, one of our sons spent a weekend with the Samuel family at a camp when they celebrated a Bar/Bat Mitzvah for four of their children. Immediately, our son was handed a ball and felt like part of their family. Our household has been as busy as the Samuel household over the years. And, we could totally relate to waking up on Sunday mornings with various extra children asleep all around our home. One morning, my husband, who had returned late the night before from a business trip, walked into the kitchen only to be greeted by a child he did not know. The boy offered to show my husband where the cereal bowls were!

After our first child was born, a nurse reminded me that children don't come with a manual, but if they did, No Biking in the House without a Helmet would be an excellent one. Melissa and Don value each child as an individual. They see their strengths and weaknesses and love them wholeheartedly. What a perfect way to be a parent!
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