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The Wonder of Girls    by Michael Gurian order for
Wonder of Girls
by Michael Gurian
Order:  USA  Can
Fireside, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by David Pitt

From the author of The Wonder of Boys comes a mostly successful look at the myths, pitfalls, and joys of childrearing. How different, really, are girls from boys? How many of our cultural gender stereotypes are accurate? Is there any scientific research that can help parents raise their kids? What, in short, can parents expect?

The book combines self-help therapeutic wisdom (or mumbo-jumbo, depending on your feeling about some of Gurian's premises) with solid science. The combination isn't always smooth - Gurian seems from time to time to be stumbling around, looking for the right words to express an idea - but it mostly works. Gurian bases the book on current research into hormones, biology, and psychology, and this helps, when he gets into more nebulous territory, such as motivation and self-image.

Gurian has a lot of interesting things to say here, a lot of new and challenging things. Especially useful is his clear-headed look at some longstanding myths: the idea, for example, that an adolescent girl's drop in self-esteem is a bad thing (Gurian tells us it's a natural part of development; happens to boys, too). Despite its flaws - some vagueness, some over-writing, perhaps too much reliance on things that sound like pop-psychology clich9s - The Wonder of Girls deserves shelf-space on any parent's bookcase.

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