Book Review: French Twist by Catherine Crawford

Saturday, January 5th, 2019 at 9:17 pm

Catherine Crawford was raising her children to be spoiled brats until she discovered, almost entirely by chance, that there was another way.

She had invited another family over for dinner and was shocked to find that this family’s kids were polite, helpful, and actually pleasant to be around.

This family happened to be French, which tickled the Francophile Crawford’s fancy, and next thing you know Crawford was trying a radical(ish) experiment in French parenting.

It’s just the sort of thing I usually like. A parenting memoir-slash-project memoir. Except I couldn’t make myself like Crawford, her children, or the French.

Now, I realize that Brooklyn parenting is a whole lot different than Middle-American parenting – but I find it hard to believe Crawford really needed to go French to learn that she is the boss (not her kids.) Just about anyone who works with children could tell her that structure works wonders for children. And the importance of family meals? Seriously? You didn’t know that?

Surely Crawford’s Catholic parents, having raised nine of their own children, could have told her that you don’t raise pleasant children by bargaining with them and rewarding them with toys every time they do something that most people would consider common courtesy. But no, Crawford must go French.

And then there’s how the French apparently actually parent. They drink alcohol while pregnant. They don’t breastfeed (at least, not for longer than three months). They shame their kids. Schoolteachers rank their students on a daily basis and announce those rankings to the class. Parents aren’t welcome at school. Their job is to make sure kids get homework done, period.

Eh, I’ll pass.


Rating: 2 stars
Category: Parenting Memoir
Synopsis: The author attempts to turn around her parenting by applying “French” advice.
Recommendation: I didn’t hate reading this, but I clearly didn’t like it either. Skip it.

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