Tuesday, August 5, 2014

book review: How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And Other Adventures in Parenting by Mei-Ling Hopgood

The basics: Mei-ling Hopgood is a Taiwanese-American who grew up in Michigan and now lives in Argentina. When she and her American husband had their first child, Sofia, they were surprised to discover the differences between Argentinian parenting and American. Mei-Ling sought out to discover the ways different cultures around the world parent. Each chapter is devoted to a different country or culture and a specific parenting task.

My thoughts: I've always been fascinated by cultural differences, particularly the things one thinks of as normal that are far from normal in other cultures and parts of the world. When I stumbled upon this title shortly after I got pregnant, I knew I wanted to read it. (Admittedly, the title intrigued me too, as Mr. Nomadreader and I love to keep our house cold in the winter, and I'm always looking for options to keep the nomadbaby happy and warm without compromising our preferred temperature.)

How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm is part memoir, part reflection, part cross-cultural study, and part parenting advice. It's not a parenting how-to book (a genre I'm not terribly attracted to--I'd rather read books by writers about parenting than books by parenting experts.) I quite enjoyed the perspectives of Hopgood and her husband, whether they agreed or disagreed. While I don't imagine I'll make all the same choices they did, we share a thoughtfulness about parenting as an academic exercise worthy of research and reflection, as well as a life experience that you can't completely control. We share the desire not to mimic different parenting styles from around the world but to be aware of cultural differences and apply the parts that work best for our families.

Favorite passage:  "Our value of children has to increase,” Hewlett said. “Pretty much, here [in the Unites States], children are seen as a burden—we want to reduce the burden on us, so let’s spend quality time and not real time."

The verdict: Hopgood organizes this book in such a way that it can be enjoyed as a whole or as individual chapters. I certainly enjoyed some chapters more than others (at least partially because my child isn't even born yet, so I'm drawn more to the advice and experiences of newer parents), and for whatever reason, I found the first half stronger than the second half. There were nuggets of wisdom in each chapter, but I found myself sharing passages with Mr. Nomadreader much more frequently in the first half of the book.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 320 pages
Publication date: January 10, 2012
Source: purchased

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm from Amazon (Kindle edition.)

Want more? Visit Mei-ling Hopgood's website and follow her on Twitter.

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!