Tuesday, February 2, 2016

‘The 100 Ways Grandma Killed Me’ (Book Review)

Every generation goes through a cycle of thinking they know better than their parents and then getting annoyed when their own children think that they know better than them. This is especially true when it comes to childrearing, as scientific advancements and long-term studies result in more and more questioning of traditionally-held beliefs and practices relating to child health and psychology. A new grandparent is likely to feel hurt, annoyed, or even angry to learn that her grown child thinks that her parenting methods are outdated and perhaps harmful to the grandchild she loves. Add in a grandparent’s tendency not to be so much of a protective “parent” but rather someone who indulges and spoils the child, and there’s certain to be conflict.

One grandmother, Lucy Silver, has obviously tried to defend her actions by writing The 100 Ways Grandma Killed Me (CreateSpace, 2014), a short picture storybook about a little girl’s enjoyment of all the things her grandmother does, much to the displeasure of her parents. Grandma feeds her with a bottle made in China, gives her junkfood galore, and lets her play in activities that excite and injure her.

The underlying message seems to be, “Grandma is fun, and Mom and Dad are bores,” but sadly, it is the book that is likely to bore. 100 Ways suffers from the lack of a clear storyline and awkward poetry. The CGI-animated illustrations, created by Christina Cartwright, I just found unappealing. While this sort of book might cheer up a grandparent who feels her advice is a bit unwelcome, I don’t think the average parent will appreciate it or the average child will identify with it. (Thinking about my own grandmothers, I certainly couldn’t.) I think that a story that pitted two grandmother’s cultures and parenting styles against each other – with the child learning to love both, of course – would’ve made a more enjoyable book for the entire family. (And less offensive to the parents.) Considering Silver’s own reference to celebrating both Chanukah and Christmas, I think that would’ve worked for her own grandchildren too.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book as a First Reads giveaway winner on GoodReads.com. There was no obligation to write a review.