One and Only

One and Only

The Freedom of Having An Only Child, and the Joy of Being One

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A funny, tough-minded case for being and having an only child, debunking the myths about only children and taking glory in the pleasures of singletons: "A swift and absorbing read...may change your mind and the national conversation" ( Psychology Today ).

Journalist Lauren Sandler is an only child and the mother of one. After investigating what only children are really like and whether stopping at one child is an answer to reconciling motherhood and modernity, she learned a lot about herself--and a lot about our culture's assumptions. In this heartfelt work, Sandler legitimizes a discussion about the larger societal costs of having more than one, which Jessica Grose in her review in The New Republic calls, "the vital part of the conversation that's not being discussed in the chatter" surrounding parenting.

Between the recession, the stresses of modern life, and the ecological dangers ahead, there are increasing pressures on parents to think seriously about singletons. Sandler considers the unique ways that singletons thrive, and why so many of their families are happier. One and Only examines these ideas, including what the rise of the single-child family means for our economies, our environment, and our freedom, leaving the reader "informed and sympathetic," writes Nora Krug in the Washington Post .

Through this journey, "Sandler delves deeply, thoughtfully, and often humorously into history, culture, politics, religion, race, economics, and of course, scientific research" writes Lori Gottlieb, The New York Times Book Review. "I couldn't put it down," says Randi Hutter Epstein in the Huffington Post . Sandler "isn't proselytizing, she's just stating it like it is. Seductively honest." At the end, Sandler has quite possibly cracked the code of happiness, demonstrating that having just one may be the way to resolve our countless struggles with adulthood in the modern age.
Edition: 1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781451626971
1451626975
Call Number: EBOOK AXIS 360
Characteristics: 1 online resource (209 p.)

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kcastro
Feb 20, 2015

I wanted to hug this author after reading this book. Not only does she back up everything she is stating with actual facts, but she reassures the reader that their only child will be just fine. What is also helpful is that she was an only child and her child is an only child, so the perspectives and opinions written in this book were definitely from someone who has "been there done that". This is a definite must have read for anyone who is thinking or has definitely decided to have a one and only child. Great read!

ksoles Nov 14, 2013

In a 1907 lecture, child psychologist G. Stanley Hall asserted, “being an only child is a disease in itself.” Even as times have changed, even as the economic impetus for large families has dwindled, even as current research has disproven stereotypes, only children still get a bad rap. But, as both an only child and the mother of a singleton herself, Lauren Sandler argues that more parents should consider stopping at one. In her thoughtful, well-reasoned book, she presents a slew of studies concluding that only children outperform their sibling-ed peers academically, professionally, and personally, overthrowing the longstanding image of the only child as selfish, maladjusted, and eternally lonely.

Sandler writes honestly, movingly and often humourously about the strengths she developed while growing up an only: independence, well-roundedness and the ability to form particularly deep friendships. She also acknowledges the negative aspects, in particular the solitary burden she will bear as her parents age as well as the sometimes-too-intense emotional atmosphere of the one-child family, where the “gaze is more intense, the love undiluted.” While the research in "One and Only" compels (especially for mothers, whose income drops with each additional child) and engages, it may prove a difficult sell for readers who can’t imagine life without their siblings. Ultimately, parents today can and should choose the life they want for themselves and their families, whether that means multiple kids or none at all.

d
danielestes
Sep 25, 2013

The cultural pressure to have more than one child, apparently hard-wired into our collective DNA, is so enormous that not having any children at all is seen as preferable to having only one. Lauren Sandler addresses this emotionally-charged subject in the best way she can even though she's up against generations of opinion that says otherwise. The introduction is the book's home run. It highlights the problem and touches upon all the counter-arguments in one elegant section. The rest of the book expands on the introduction, and is worth reading, but lacks the same punch as the intro. The last chapter, the one about growing a sustainable population, I felt weakened her argument a little.

w
writermala
Aug 15, 2013

As the mother of a single child, I'm to this day trying to justify to myself that I did not somehow deprive my child of all kinds of benefits a sibling would have provided. Thus, it was with great eagerness that I read this book. Lauren Sandler does not defend her decision to have just one child by relating facts and figures that only support this position; rather she comments on both sides of this eternal debate. What is important is that at the end of the book I feel my 35 year angst vanishing and believing that my decision was both personally and socially responsible. Thank you Lauren!

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