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How to Be a Family : The Year I Dragged My Kids Around the World to Find a New Way to Be Together
by Dan Kois




Overview -
In this "refreshingly relatable" (Outside) memoir, perfect for the self-isolating family, Slate editor Dan Kois sets out with his family on a journey around the world to change their lives together.

What happens when one frustrated dad turns his kids' lives upside down in search of a new way to be a family?
Dan Kois and his wife always did their best for their kids. Busy professionals living in the D.C. suburbs, they scheduled their children's time wisely, and when they weren't arguing over screen time, the Kois family-Dan, his wife Alia, and their two pre-teen daughters-could each be found searching for their own happiness. But aren't families supposed to achieve happiness together?

In this eye-opening, heartwarming, and very funny family memoir, the fractious, loving Kois' go in search of other places on the map that might offer them the chance to live away from home-but closer together. Over a year the family lands in New Zealand, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, and small-town Kansas. The goal? To get out of their rut of busyness and distractedness and to see how other families live outside the East Coast parenting bubble.

HOW TO BE A FAMILY brings readers along as the Kois girls-witty, solitary, extremely online Lyra and goofy, sensitive, social butterfly Harper-like through the Kiwi bush, ride bikes to a Dutch school in the pouring rain, battle iguanas in their Costa Rican kitchen, and learn to love a town where everyone knows your name. Meanwhile, Dan interviews neighbors, public officials, and scholars to learn why each of these places work the way they do. Will this trip change the Kois family's lives? Or do families take their problems and conflicts with them wherever we go?

A journalistic memoir filled with heart, empathy, and lots of whining, HOW TO BE A FAMILY will make readers dream about the amazing adventures their own families might take.

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More About How to Be a Family by Dan Kois

 
 
 

Overview

In this "refreshingly relatable" (Outside) memoir, perfect for the self-isolating family, Slate editor Dan Kois sets out with his family on a journey around the world to change their lives together.

What happens when one frustrated dad turns his kids' lives upside down in search of a new way to be a family?
Dan Kois and his wife always did their best for their kids. Busy professionals living in the D.C. suburbs, they scheduled their children's time wisely, and when they weren't arguing over screen time, the Kois family-Dan, his wife Alia, and their two pre-teen daughters-could each be found searching for their own happiness. But aren't families supposed to achieve happiness together?

In this eye-opening, heartwarming, and very funny family memoir, the fractious, loving Kois' go in search of other places on the map that might offer them the chance to live away from home-but closer together. Over a year the family lands in New Zealand, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, and small-town Kansas. The goal? To get out of their rut of busyness and distractedness and to see how other families live outside the East Coast parenting bubble.

HOW TO BE A FAMILY brings readers along as the Kois girls-witty, solitary, extremely online Lyra and goofy, sensitive, social butterfly Harper-like through the Kiwi bush, ride bikes to a Dutch school in the pouring rain, battle iguanas in their Costa Rican kitchen, and learn to love a town where everyone knows your name. Meanwhile, Dan interviews neighbors, public officials, and scholars to learn why each of these places work the way they do. Will this trip change the Kois family's lives? Or do families take their problems and conflicts with them wherever we go?

A journalistic memoir filled with heart, empathy, and lots of whining, HOW TO BE A FAMILY will make readers dream about the amazing adventures their own families might take.

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316552622
  • ISBN-10: 0316552623
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company
  • Publish Date: September 2019
  • Page Count: 336
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

How to Be a Family

In 2017 Dan Kois, his wife and their two children did what many families secretly dream of doing: They packed up their belongings and spent a year living abroad. Their life in Arlington, Virginia, had come to feel like an endless rat race—Kois is an editor at Slate and his wife, Alia, a First Amendment attorney—leaving them feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. They asked themselves, “Could the two of us set aside our relentless quest to make sure our children had every material and educational advantage, and instead focus for twelve months on caring for all our hearts and souls?”

Kois shares the fascinating and frequently hilarious results in his admirably honest account of that year, How to Be a Family. In addition to Kois’ humorous, self-deprecating style, the book is particularly lively because Kois and his wife picked such diverse spots to live: the blustery coastal town of Wellington, New Zealand (their favorite spot); the bustling city of Delft in the Netherlands; tropical Samara, Costa Rica; and deep in the heartland of Hays, Kansas, where a friend of the family lived. (Yes, Kansas!)

Kois and company adored their friendly, welcoming neighborhood in New Zealand. The Dutch were not so affable (Kois calls them “mysterious and frustrating”), although the family loved the country’s reliance on bike transportation. Costa Rica was at times monotonous in its endless string of beautiful days, and occasionally the togetherness became too much, prompting Kois to write, “Thank God for cards” (as in card games). In Kansas, they found a wonderful sense of community, discovering that it was “a place where people could bloom.”

In the end, the family found their lives changed but not transformed, realizing that “a place never solves anything.” Nonetheless, their journey was an unforgettable adventure, allowing them the priceless gift of having time to pay more attention to each other.

 

ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our interview with Dan Kois, author of How to Be a Family.

 

BAM Customer Reviews