Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cinderella Ate My Daughter

My most turbulent experience with what author Peggy Orenstein
calls "the new girlie girl culture" arrived with a permission slip my
Katie wanted me to sign. Her Girl Scout troop had been chosen to
receive a highly coveted prize--a sleepover at the mall. Stores would
be opened for their shopping pleasure. Girl Scouts had been there for
me and even my mother as an affirmation that we could be authentic
achievers, loyal friends, and world class survival campers in the face
of limitations the outside world strove to impose. And now, with the
world so vigorously reinforcing girls' identity as consumers, they
were throwing in the towel.
If you're raising a daughter, I suspect you're having your own
"what the heck..." experiences. If so read Cinderella Ate My
Daughter. Orenstein is a parent like us. She's up front about what
she's confronting as her child's advocate. She raises a lot of good
--Is dressing like a Disney princess harmless fun or does it set a
girl up to fixate on appearance as identity?
--is the difference between beauty pageant parents and the rest of us
one of degree, not kind?
--Do children playing with movie or TV based licensed products follow
already developed scripts at the expense of creativity and imagination?
--How are our daughters effected by the wholesome to whoresome
transition of idols like Mikey Cyrus?
"Just Between You, Me, and My 622 BFFs" was the chapter that
gave me the most food for thought. The real eye opener for me wasn't
cyberbullying or sexting. It was the way Facebook and similar sites
have changed the way teens perceive themselves. Do you remember the
self consciousness of your middle and high school years? Now try to
imagine your audience expanding to include hundreds of people you've
never met who can instantly and publicly comment on every aspect of
your projected image. Holy cow!
"Cinderella Ate My Daughter" is perfect for book clubs. It is
meant to be discussed.
Coming attractions: next we're going to head into the kitchen
to eat naked and eat local.
On a personal note: if you (like me) can't pass up yard sales,
you're in a position to stock up on books for winter reading.
Finally, a big shout out to my wonderful daughters, Amber and
Katie, who survived the pink jungle and grew up to be assertive,
creative, confident women any parent would be proud of.
Sent from my iPod

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Ages ago (when my college senior daughter was in the primary
wing of elementary school) I took my three kids to the Bangor Public
Library children's room. Anne Mundy, then its reigning matriarch,
gave me valuable insider info. Rick Levasseur, then Style Page editor
for the Bangor Daily News, was looking for a freelancer who knew what s
(he) was doing to review children's books. I called Rick. He told me
to give it my best shot.
I'd never reviewed before. I thought I'd be winging it. But
that never happened. I felt my voice as a reviewer come to me full
fledged. It was the friend-talking-about-a-great reading discovery
With my voice came my self-imposed taboo. I never review a book
I don't believe in. I don't want to violate the trust of readers by
hyping a work I consider mediocre or worse. And I think scoring easy
points by panning is a waste of space.
Rick proved to be a dream editor. I grew as a writer and loved
what I was doing. Parents, teachers, and librarians trusted me.
People without any kids went out and bought the books. Writers felt
that I really got what they were saying. I won awards.
Then changes in the economy made free lance work hard to come
by. I missed reviewing. Readers and writers missed my work--even
years later. So I decided to try a book review blog.
In cyberspace too I'll only review books I believe in. There
will be no fluff or panning. And I don't plan to be pretentious or
artificial. My coffee chat style is what you'll get.
I've started reading the book for my first cyber review:
Cinderella Ate My Daughter. I'm near the end of the third chapter.
All I can tell you is...read my next post and see what I have to say
about it.
Julia Emily Hathaway

Sent from my iPod