How to Be a Family: The Year I Dragged My Kids Around the World to Find a New Way to Be Together

Dan Kois. Little, Brown, $28.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-316-55262-2
Kois, a parenting podcaster and editor at Slate, believed that he, his wife, and two daughters “were doing being a family wrong” and tells of his radical step to rectify their situation. He decided they should spend 2017 living in new locations far from their Arlington, Va., home, spending three months in each location. The experiment’s results are varied and delightful to read about: their happy idyll in beautiful Wellington, New Zealand, is packed with friendly neighborhood barbecues and a rejection of American helicopter parenting. The Dutch in Delft, in the Netherlands, seem a cooler lot and obsessed with “normalcy,” though Kois—a serial enthusiast—is entranced by their social cohesion and bicycles. Bug-infested Samara, Costa Rica, is appealingly laid-back, though its roughness starts straining family ties. Back in the vaunted “Real America” of Trump-voting Hays in western Kansas, Kois is as intrigued by the close-knit religious town as he is with the locales abroad. He fills his narrative with both ironic, self-deprecating humor and earnest soul-searching (“A place never solves anything”) as he comes to the realization that “you can’t actually change your kids but your kids change nonetheless.” This “foolhardy jaunt” into experimental family life–hacking consistently pleases and surprises. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/05/2019
Release date: 09/17/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-0049-9
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-5491-5605-2
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