One and Only

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

3.46 (834 ratings by Goodreads)
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Lauren Sandler is an only child with an only child of her own, who found that discussing the choice to stop at one kid was loaded with anxiety, doubt, misinformation, and judgment. After investigating what only children really are 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 demystifies the perceived problems of the only child and legitimizes a conversation about the larger societal costs of having more than one. We ask when people are having kids-never akid, never onechild at a time. If parents no longer felt they had to have second children to keep from royally screwing up their first, would the majority of them still do it? And, if the literature tells us-in hundreds of studies-that a child isn'tbetter off with a sibling and it's not something parents truly want for themselves, then whom is this choice serving?

One and Onlyexamines these questions, exploring what the rise of the single-child family means for our economies, our environment, and our freedom. Sandler considers hundreds of studies and interviews, traveling around the world to discover that only children are just fine, their parents often happier, and our planet is better off for them.

Sandler's controversial revelations will probably draw rebukes from the majority of parents who believe that having several children is the healthiest model for all members of a family. Others will claim that she's quite possibly cracked the code of happiness, demonstrating that having just one may be the way to resolve our countless issues with adulthood in our overtaxed age.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 137.16 x 215.9 x 22.86mm | 362.87g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1451626959
  • 9781451626957
  • 292,849

Review quote

"[T]he author's argument dispels stereotypes of `onlies' and raises provocative questions about the American tendency toward prioritizing and even elevating parenthood over relationships, individuality, social networks and other aspects of adulthood, sometimes to the detriment of the family. Recommended as an alternative perspective on an often emotionally fraught discussion." * Kirkus Reviews * "Onlies, parents of onlies, and readers still on the fence will find the book illuminating and affirming." -- Publishers Weekly "With wit, warmth, and keen intelligence, Sandler skewers the myths about only children and their parents. If you're tired of all the foolish generalizations, buy several copies of this book and hand them out at the playground!" -- Liza Featherstone, author of Selling Women Short "This book, like everything Lauren Sandler writes, is lush and riveting. Only children or people who have only children will find comfort in these pages, and parents generally should read it to understand their own choices." -- Alissa Quart, author of Hothouse Kids "Sandler weaves a gripping tale of motherhood and modernity, bypassing the mommy wars to expose the wider conditions in which parenting choices are made. She's one of the most cogent commentators on feminism and family there is." -- Deborah Siegel, PhD, coeditor of Only Child "Sandler powerfully debunks generations of myths about the loneliness, selfishness, and general neuroticism of only children. Her book is a must-read both for adult only children and parents of `just' one-and an eye-opener for anyone interested in a fresh look at the meaning of connectedness." -- Judith Warner, New York Times bestselling author of Perfect Madness "Sandler's thought-provoking-and often surprising-analysis will fascinate anyone interested in how family circumstances shape our lives." -- Gretchen Rubin, New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project "Lauren Sandler's book is eloquent, articulate, persuasive, and whip-smart. But its greatest virtue may be its restraint. This is, thank goodness, no faddish argument for only children. One and Only is something much wiser and much, much more important. It's a plea to disregard our facile (and demonstrably incorrect) stereotypes about family size and accept a universal truth: one size does not fit all." -- Daniel Smith, New York Times bestselling author of Monkey Mind "Sandler delivers a work of fierce reporting, tender storytelling, and clear-eyed cultural analysis." -- Susan Cain, author of Quiet "There is a welcome strain of argument undergirding this well-researched and lively book: Looking out for your own happiness is not inconsistent with being a good mother. This is a vital part of the conversation that's not being discussed in the chatter surrounding middle-class parenting." -- Jessica Grose, The New Republic "[Sandler] delves deeply, thoughtfully, and often humorously into history, culture, politics, religion, race, economics, and of course, scientific research... Will she or won't she have another? The beauty of her in-depth exploration is that the larger questions she poses make this one seem beside the point." -- Lori Gottlieb, The New York Times Book Review
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About Lauren Sandler

Lauren Sandler has written on cultural politics, religion, and inequality for Time, The Atlantic, Slate, and The New York Times.
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Rating details

834 ratings
3.46 out of 5 stars
5 14% (119)
4 35% (295)
3 36% (298)
2 12% (101)
1 3% (21)
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