It was a pretty sobering book: the premise is that boys aren't receiving the "emotional literacy" to respond to the situations and changes that they face throughout boyhood - instead they often resort to stoicism or solitude. The topics of sex, alcoholism, depression, suicide, and violence, for this mother-of-a-four-year-old-boy were a bit alarming. I definitely became more self-aware and probably self-conscious of everyday interactions with my boy... maybe even paranoid. Unlike the other books I've read, Raising Cain didn't include a "how to" or guidance to prevent such horrible outcomes that were presented as case studies... until the very last chapter. I am so glad I stuck with it, but WOW. The book could have been more instructive throughout. At least to prevent some hyperventilating.
The following is a great, quick book review from BookBrowse: http://www.bookbrowse.com/
For my matter-of-fact "Cliff Notes", I found the following chapters most helpful/enlightening:
- Introduction - The authors give you a sneak peak at why they felt this book was important to write, so it gives some good context.
- Chapter 1: The road not taken: turning boys away from their inner life. - Here the authors make the case for boys' "emotional illiteracy" - the inability to express emotion without resorting to anger or withdrawal. This is very interesting stuff, and it may make you see the world in a whole new light.
- Chapter 2: Thorns among Roses: The struggle of young boys in early education. - Here is the case that the early education is slanted against boys and boy behavior! So, you moms of young preschool and early-education sons will find this fascinating and a little disturbing.
- Chapter 4: The culture of cruelty. This focuses a lot on bullying and pressures specifically that boys face. Again, very eye-opening.
- Chapters 5 & 6: Fathers and Sons, Mothers and Sons. These two chapters explain the importance of male and female role models, and how they provide distinct and critical functions.
- Chapter 12: What Boys Need. AT LAST! I read the entire book to get to this chapter. Up until this point of the book, I kept thinking, what do I do??? So if you are really anxious, read this chapter.
One last thought I will leave about Raising Cain: It encourages us to always give our sons a safe place to express emotion. Expect and embrace the exuberance and activity that boys exude and then celebrate it! For me, that provided a sense of relief and a nod that it's going to be okay. (I was pregnant with boy#2 at the time I read this, and that's what I needed to know).
Has anyone else read this? p.s.There's also a PBS documentary about Raising Cain, which after reading the book, I didn't think I had the stomach for - did anyone see it?
Thoughts to share?