cover image Becoming Grandma: The Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting

Becoming Grandma: The Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting

Lesley Stahl. Pengiun/Blue Rider, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-0-399-16815-4

When becoming a grandparent invigorated 60 Minutes correspondent Stahl “with new purpose,” she decided to research others’ experiences, and the result is this energetic, informative, and often touching book. In the hands of a less sensitive reporter, it might come across as a study of grandparenting by the one percent; Stahl readily admits that taking flights just to visit her grandchildren is a privilege few Americans share. Instead, she takes pains to profile multi-generational families at a variety of income levels, while also showing how grandparenting can be therapeutic and “curative in a profound way.” It might even be helping the economy—grandparent spending has increased sevenfold in the last decade. Stahl includes stories of generational conflict and her personal regrets as a working mother along with plentiful glimpses of her family’s joys and those of many other families. The statistics are surprising: the median age of new grandmothers in the U.S. is 50 (54 for grandfathers). As Stahl points out, that young age, coupled with longer life spans, represents a large-scale shift in the role of grandparents in U.S. culture. No matter where readers fall in age or experience, this book should top their 2016 reading list of parenting titles. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Apr.)