- ISBN-13: 9780399168154
- ISBN-10: 039916815X
- Publisher: Blue Rider Pr
- Publish Date: April 2016
- Page Count: 271
- Dimensions: 1 x 6.25 x 9.25 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-03-07
- Reviewer: Staff
When becoming a grandparent invigorated 60 Minutes correspondent Stahl “with new purpose,” she decided to research others’ experiences, and the result is this energetic, informative, and often touching book. In the hands of a less sensitive reporter, it might come across as a study of grandparenting by the one percent; Stahl readily admits that taking flights just to visit her grandchildren is a privilege few Americans share. Instead, she takes pains to profile multi-generational families at a variety of income levels, while also showing how grandparenting can be therapeutic and “curative in a profound way.” It might even be helping the economy—grandparent spending has increased sevenfold in the last decade. Stahl includes stories of generational conflict and her personal regrets as a working mother along with plentiful glimpses of her family’s joys and those of many other families. The statistics are surprising: the median age of new grandmothers in the U.S. is 50 (54 for grandfathers). As Stahl points out, that young age, coupled with longer life spans, represents a large-scale shift in the role of grandparents in U.S. culture. No matter where readers fall in age or experience, this book should top their 2016 reading list of parenting titles. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Apr.)
The euphoria of being a grandparent
How does an award-winning journalist contemplate a transformative change in her own life? With prodigious research that finds room for the blind love growing in “a whole new chamber in my heart.” Lesley Stahl, longtime correspondent for “60 Minutes,” has a lot to share about Becoming Grandma.
Bowled over by her “thunderstruck” reaction to the birth of her first granddaughter, Stahl decides to examine grandparenthood in all its scientific, psychological, familial and cultural dimensions. She begins by looking for an explanation for her unexpected euphoria and discovers there’s a scientific reason for it: Oxytocin, the hormone that the female brain releases upon childbirth, works for grandmas, too. Stahl compares the experience to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, altering women from within and changing “what even the most career-oriented woman thinks is important.”
Stahl surveys the mothers, stepgrandmas and surrogate “grans” of today’s fluid families, including great-grandmother Whoopi Goldberg, columnist Ellen Goodman and Stahl’s “60 Minutes” colleagues.
Stahl calls the rewards of grandparenting the “extra bonus points” that come with aging. Now well into her 70s, she is still working—and her two beloved granddaughters are keeping her young.