Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Book Lover's Survey: Caution, Strong Passions Ahead!

Rachel Held Evans featured four intriguing questions on a blog post that I'm going to steal for my own post (Thanks, Rachel!), because as soon as I read them, I could immediately answer the questions. That doesn't happen to me very often.

Can you name...

1. A book you threw across the room in anger?
2. A book in which you underlined nearly every sentence?
3. A book you were surprised to love?
4. A book you're looking forward to reading?

1. A book I threw across the room in anger:
 On Becoming Baby Wise by Gary Ezzo

Not only did I throw this book across the room several times during the reading of it, when I was finished I threw it in the trash. I have only done that (the throwing and the throwing away) once in my life: with this book.

This book was recommended to me by another mother when my first daughter, Olivia, was a couple months old. I'd never heard of the book or the man before. I read the book, my mouth dropping open more and more in horror and disbelief.

I cannot say anything good about this vile book. It is the worst parenting book I have ever come across. And dangerous to the psychological and physical safety of children. Ezzo presents pseudo-scientific "facts" all throughout his book, (e.g. there is no such thing as a mother's intuition; wearing your baby in a sling puts you on a social scale with animals; don't demand-feed your newborn, make her know who's boss and stick strictly to a feeding schedule; infants should bend around your schedule not you around theirs; from the time they're born you babies and children should learn that your husband is your TOP priority, and your time together takes precedence over them, etc.) that fly in the face of commonsense and recommendations by the AAP. If you are a breastfeeding mother, and follow Ezzo's advice and schedule for feeding your baby, I guarantee you will very quickly lose your milk supply, and your baby will always be hungry. But the worst thing is his completely callous, completely detached parenting style he pushes. His attitude toward babies and young children is appalling. Following his advice could be dangerous, and could lead to a baby who suffers Attachment Disorder, resulting from emotional neglect.
The overall impression I got from reading this book -and yes, I read the vile thing all the way through- is that this man hates children and hates women. I can't believe this man has a following...well, yes I can, because he advocates parental selfishness, which obviously is very appealing to certain people. (If you don't want to take on the care of helpless little beings that depend on you for their every need, DON'T HAVE CHILDREN!!! 'Cause once you have them, it's not all about you anymore.)
Awful, awful book.

*Robert Bucknam's name is apparently just on there to throw his M.D. weight behind the claptrap that Ezzo espouses, giving the book "credibility". And shame on him for doing so.

2. A book in which I underlined nearly every sentence:
 A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle

First written in 1971, this book is the first of L'Engle's Crosswicks Journals (there are four). I read it the first time as a Junior at university. (On my own, not as a class required reading.) I am not an underliner of books, but I did take copious notes in my journal as I read it. In the pages of this book, L'Engle ponders deeply on many subjects: art, writing, good and evil, spirituality, the whole creative process, one's sense of self, etc. I loved the way she worded her thoughts. And it resonated with that youthful me in many ways. By turns sure and questioning, the philosophical and religious self-examination was appealing to the young woman trying-to-find-her-way-in-life that I was then. It made me think of my concept of "self" in a new way, something my philosophy classes had not succeeded in doing.

I have since left religion and religious belief behind me, and don't know if I'd feel the same way about this book today as I once did. But once upon a time it touched me deeply enough to overcome my scruples and write in the book.

3. A book I was surprised to love:
 The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

I read this for the first time when I was 17 years old, at my mom's suggestion. It didn't sound like it would appeal to me at all AND it was freaking LONG, so I only started reading it out of respect for my mom, telling myself that I could stop if it was too boring. But I very quickly got swallowed up in the story of Edmond Dantes, a young man in love who is betrayed by his best friend and sent to the Chateau d'If, an impregnable island prison, for treason. Years later, he finally manages a daring escape and returns to France after amassing a fortune and travelling abroad, to meticulously exact his revenge on the man who was once his best friend and everyone responsible for sending him to prison.
I haven't read this book since then, and I need to, just to see if I'll feel the same way about it.

4. A book I can't wait to read:

Oh my, how do I choose? For right now, I'll say all the ones from my recent library trip. 
I also have an Excel spreadsheet with over 400 entries and growing everyday, of books waiting to be read.


  1. Could not agree more about either Baby Wise or the Count of Monte Cristo. I may have to read A Circle of Quiet.

  2. I'm so glad you borrowed the idea from your friend Rachel. I will probably borrow it from you!

  3. Kathy (Burrowing In) - I think you'll like it.

    Kathy - Do use it. I wish I could claim Rachel as a friend, but I'm just a reader of her blog. And wanted to give credit where credit is due.

  4. 400 books?!? My, my, my. I think this might be why I don't *really* keep up my TBR list--it would overwhelm me! What a fun meme!

  5. That book list is mostly from recommendations I got on the internet and from book browsing. My book list actually saves my sanity (and my wallet). If it's on my book list, it's there to be remembered when I get around to it.

  6. +JMJ+

    On Becoming Baby Wise does sound awful. You don't have to be an "Attachment Parent" to know that an attitude of "showing baby who's boss" will prove extremely harmful.

    By the way, I'm not a big underliner of books, either, preferring, like you, to copy out whole chunks in my journal. I find the words become more "mine" that way.

    I'm not planning to read The Count of Monte Cristo any time soon, but I have The Three Musketeers on my TBR shelf.

  7. +JMJ+, I appreciate you coming over and commenting! Thanks!
    Yes, exactly (about the copying down), plus, the re-writing of the words helps me remember it better.
    Having read them both, I really prefer The Count of Monte Cristo.

  8. Oooooh! I love this post! Gotta try it myself!

  9. Do! I look forward to reading your book choices.