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Believing It All: Lessons I Learned from My Children    by Marc Parent order for
Believing It All
by Marc Parent
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I listened to an audio version of this series of reminiscences, read with feeling by the author. Marc Parent describes a time when he acted as a full-time parent (while his wife worked as a teacher) of his two small sons, Casey and Owen, in a rural Pennsylvania environment. He covers the period from Casey's birth to the parental trauma of relinquishing him to school.

I played the tapes on a car trip, expecting my sons (12 and 13) to continue with their own pursuits, of reading and video games. I was surprised to find them listening with total engagement and occasional uproarious laughter. I also smiled often and cried occasionally to accounts of how the author grappled with succinct answers to many of the big and small questions of life, from explaining a dead squirrel to a 3-year-old to encouraging empathy against the grain of small boys. They share many experiences together, from thunder and lightning to trout fishing, fuelled by jelly toast.

Marc Parent humbly presents the many lessons he has learned from his two boys, familiar to any parent who tries to see the world through their child's eyes, and finds a simpler one stripped down to what really matters. There are amusing and endearing anecdotes, like descriptions of a myriad of pets (especially my favorite, the big black rabbit) and the boys' relationship with an old man and his open trunk. But there are also very serious episodes, like the time 4-day-old Casey stopped breathing, and the author's recollection of a friend's severe burning.

I recommend Believing It All to anyone who is ready to take on the joys and trials of parenting, or who relishes the memories of those early years. Marc Parent shares his memories and insights in a passionate and articulate voice, with an empathy that is totally engaging.

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