Summary and book reviews of The Wonder of Girls by Michael Gurian

The Wonder of Girls

Understanding the Hidden Nature of Our Daughters

by Michael Gurian

The Wonder of Girls
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  • First Published:
    Dec 2001, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2003, 352 pages

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Book Summary

Explains what is "normal" for girls each year from birth to age 20; focusing on developmental needs; how to communicate effectively with girls; and how to cope with developmental crises.

Michael Gurian, whose national bestseller The Wonder of Boys presented a radical and enlightening view of parenting sons, now offers a groundbreaking approach to raising daughters.

In The Wonder of Girls, Gurian, himself the father of two girls, provides crucial information for fully understanding the basic nature of girls: up-to-date scientific research on female biology, hormones, and brain development and how they shape girls' interests, behavior, and relationships.

He also offers insight into a culture mired in competition between traditionalism and feminism and a new vision that provides for the equal status of girls and women yet acknowledges their nature as complex and distinct from men. He explains what is "normal" for girls each year from birth to age 20; what developmental needs girls face in each stage; how to communicate effectively with girls; and how to cope with developmental crises such as early sexuality, eating disorders, parental divorce, and more.

With personal insights, practical tips, real-life anecdotes, and accessible science, The Wonder of Girls creates a new parenting paradigm. Key elements include:

  • a nature-based approach to why girls are the way they are

  • the connection between the need for profound attachment and the physical and brain development of girls

  • support for a girl's inherent need for intimacy

  • tools to protect girls' self-esteem and emotional life

  • a new approach to girls' character development and rites of passage.

With this scientifically based developmental map of girlhood, Gurian equips parents with a comprehensive guide for raising daughters. Challenging our culture to examine and embrace a crucial piece of the puzzle missing thus far, The Wonder of Girls elevates the dialogue on parenthood.

Chapter One
BEGINNING OUR SEARCH
A NEW LOGIC OF GIRLS' LIVES

"We have to look beyond patriarchy, that's for sure. But, you know, it's starting to be that we also have to look beyond feminism too. Our daughters' lives are limited by both theories."
-- Gail Reid-Gurian, mother of two girls and family therapist



On a sunny day in June, I took my daughters to Manito Park, our neighborhood play area. Gabrielle was seven and Davita four. Beyond the normal swings and slides, the girls always enjoyed a sculpture there, built from logs and shaped like a Viking ship. On this particular day, we arrived early, and the girls, who had brought some of their stuffed animals, began to play a game involving two mothers caring for children on an ocean voyage. I offered to be part of the game if they wanted me, but then, as they enjoyed their "girl world" without me, I settled into a book on a bench at the periphery.

Their play went comfortably, filled with creative ideas and adjustments, ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Gurian's trademark is examining how biology impacts behavior. ... Gurian urges parents to use a new model in raising girls .... Expect Gurian's arguments to stir controversy and inspire thought.

Author Blurb Christina Hoff Sommers, author of Who Stole Feminism?
Finally, a sensitive and scientifically knowledgeable writer has given us a book on girls. Gurian's engrossing book is important not only for parents, but for anyone who cares for, educates, or makes policy affecting the lives of girls and women.

Author Blurb Ann F. Caron, Ed.D. author of Don't Stop Loving Me
Michael Gurian has given us a gift, an exciting book that parents of daughters will consult over and over again. Gurian leads us in a new direction as he challenges parents to understand and value our daughters' desire for attachment. Women will recognize themselves, as well as their daughters, in this thought-provoking book. Bravo, Michael.

Reader Reviews

megan

i'm just a teenager myself and when i read this book it made me realize some of these things for the first time, it's a really good book. if anyone wants to know what's going on with their daughter then this is a book that people should read.

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