If you're looking for a book that offers parenting advice and useful techniques, then this is not the book for you.
If you want to read a book about how and what you should do bring about the best possible outcomes for your child's social, emotional, cognitive and physical development, then do not read this book.
However, if you're curious about the history and evolution of childhood and adolescence as we now know them, then stop right here.
If you want to read about how having children affects the parent's social, emotional, physical and cognitive development, then pick up this book.
If you'd like to ponder the bigger picture about why we parent the way we do and you want to become a more conscious participant in this process, then open All Joy and No Fun.
Jennifer Senior explores the different ways our western culture has viewed childhood over time - with a focus on our more recent history.
She is well versed on the research of modern sociologists and anthropologists such as Mead, Freud, Erikson, Kagan & Spock.
All Joy and No Fun discusses the modern dilemma of the work/life balance, the division of labour in the home, the specific changes in our society brought on by the end of WW2, the 'prolonged, protected child' syndrome and the 'happy, well-adjusted child' syndrome.
As a former teacher, I found her historical perspective & observations fascinating.
As a step-mother of two teenage boys, I found her chapter on adolescence affirming and enlightening.
As a human being I found her final chapter on the nature of joy and happiness, memory and purpose, experience and connection insightful and uplifting.