More Summer Reading (Dis)Recommendations

August 1, 2011 | Guest

By Guest Blogger Whitney Garrison

If you’re looking for a few more books to carry you through your summer, NeW friend Whitney Garrison has a few recommendations on what to and not to read.

#1 Book Disrecommendation: The Feminine Mistake by Leslie Bennetts

If Marna Tucker, acclaimed DC divorce attorney and mother of two, was quoted one more time in this book she should have gotten a byline.  I mention this because Bennetts relies so heavily upon anecdotal examples and quotes from interviews with cynical liberal women like Tucker.  This sample was an elite group of women.  Only 3 or 4 of the woman Bennetts mentions did not have a college degree.  What is this feminine mistake that Bennetts admonishes her reader about?  Staying at home with your children.  My primary issue with her argument is that it ignores the practical problem of who is to take care of children if not their mothers?  Since Bennett seems to be primarily addressing professional women and since decent childcare requires a high adult/children ratio, her exhortation for women to all pursue their careers fulltime will require a massive amount of manpower dedicated to childcare.  One then has to conclude that her ideal future would require a whole lower class of women to be fulltime childcare workers.

My poor fiancé was miserable while I read this book on our drive to his parent’s house for the Fourth of July.  The book was chocked full of man hating propaganda and selfish upper class concerns like finding the right kind of nanny (like we can all afford a nanny!).  Being engaged, I’ve recently read all sorts of books on marriage, devotionals on marriage, and blogs about marriage as my fiance and I prepare our own emotional and spiritual foundation.  The Feminine Mistake was a total departure advocating for women to not rely, trust, or depend upon anyone but yourself.  To do so, Bennetts argues would be naive and short sighted. Men leave you. They die. They lose their jobs.  Why rely upon a man? We need to change the system!  We need to fight the gender bias!  We need full pay equity! Gender parity in the board room!  It was exhausting.  Who can start their marriage bedded with such untrusting ideas?  Who can live their life expecting disaster around every corner?

Women should have honest conversations with their husbands about the family’s finances and life insurance.  NeW women empower themselves with this vital information and command respect and love from their husbands regardless of whether or not they decide to work in or out of the home after having children.  I would rather live empowered by knowledge and faith instead of crippled by fear of divorce or disaster.


#2 Book Recommendation: The Simplicity Primer: 365 ideas for making life more livable by Patrice Lewis

My wonderful fiance John stumbled upon a blog called and liked it so much he bought the author’s book “The Simplicity Primer.”  As I was complaining about The Feminine Mistake he insisted I read this book next.  Thank goodness!


Patrice Lewis is a freelance writer and cofounder of a family woodcraft business with her husband.  She lives on twenty acres in north Idaho with her husband, two homeschooled children, and assorted livestock.  The book is a compilation of 365 quick lessons on simplicity, but it avoids being preachy or self-important and never do I feel like Lewis feels the need to be defensive of her lifestyle (as Bennetts does).  It is easy to read and good food for thought for NeW women interested in balancing work and family.

Happy Reading!

Whitney Garrison has blogged for NeW before. She is the Director of Development at the American Spectator Foundation.


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