Length: 304 pages
First Published: 2022
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Mariner Books through Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Explaining the roots of modern motherhood, Jessica Grose explains why our expectations of American motherhood today are unsustainable and harmful. Weaving her personal narrative of how pregnancy and motherhood affected her life and career, Grose points out the flaws in how the American culture perceives motherhood and what to do about it.
Lately, I have had a fascination with books about motherhood and gender equality, so Screaming on the Inside seemed right up my alley. Yet the book was only okay. Grose presents plenty of intriguing facts, but the book lacked the passion to really fire me up. In the end, I agreed with her premise, yet wasn’t left with any suggestions of what to do about any of it.
In this timely and necessary book, New York Times opinion writer Jessica Grose dismantles two hundred years of unrealistic parenting expectations and empowers today’s mothers to make choices that actually serve themselves, their children, and their communities
Close your eyes and picture the perfect mother. She is usually blonde and thin. Her roots are never showing and she installed that gleaming kitchen backsplash herself (watch her TikTok for DIY tips). She seamlessly melds work, wellness and home; and during the depths of the pandemic, she also ran remote school and woke up at 5 a.m. to meditate.
You may read this and think it’s bananas; you have probably internalized much of it.
Journalist Jessica Grose sure had. After she failed to meet every one of her own expectations for her first pregnancy, she devoted her career to revealing how morally bankrupt so many of these ideas and pressures are. Now, in Screaming on the Inside, Grose weaves together her personal journey with scientific, historical, and contemporary reporting to be the voice for American parents she wishes she’d had a decade ago.
The truth is that parenting cannot follow a recipe; there’s no foolproof set of rules that will result in a perfectly adjusted child. Every parent has different values, and we will have different ideas about how to pass those values along to our children. What successful parenting has in common, regardless of culture or community, is close observation of the kind of unique humans our children are. In thoughtful and revelatory chapters about pregnancy, identity, work, social media, and the crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic, Grose explains how we got to this moment, why the current state of expectations on mothers is wholly unsustainable, and how we can move towards something better.
About Jessica Grose
Jessica Grose is an opinion writer at The New York Times and the founding editor of Lenny. Grose is also an author whose works include Soulmates, Sad Desk Salad, and Screaming on the Inside. She currently lives in Brooklyn. Visit the author’s website →