The Missing Pages of the Parent Handbook
The Missing Pages is a collection of thirty-nine stories distilling the wisdom of parents from a diverse set of families: single parents, bi-racial, and step families, families with only one child to several, young children and teens. The topics cover a broad range, including coping with a new baby, managing in school, developing confidence, loss of a loved one, and teen rebellion, pregnancy, and drug addiction. These situations are not the kind covered in the “what to expect” type of manuals, but the type of narratives one hears when in the company of other parents, while waiting to pick up the kids or over a cup of coffee, and pondering how do other parents handle this? Each account is unique and offers a new perspective to what we ourselves might be going through to become a part of our own learning experience and set of tools we use to cope, providing the metaphoric “missing page” in our own parent handbook.
This book is reminiscent of a parental Chicken Soup for the Soul type of book, but with a better format. The author’s descriptive writing brings each story to life, making it easier for the reader to visualize the event. Each titled narrative begins with the first name of the person telling the story and a phrase identifying the situation, such as “when your child faces prejudice or rejection.” The parent’s name identifies the first-person speaker and adds a personal touch. Each story wraps up with a short paragraph summarizing the advice the reader should glean from the story, highlighted in gray, to make it easier to distinguish from the narrative text. I appreciated each story framed at beginning and end in this manner as this made it easier to keep the content in context. This is a positive book that should be read slowly and reflectively to gain the most advantage and not all at once. The reader might not agree with how each parent handles a situation or match them in circumstances, as would be the case in a real life conversation, but the essence of the advice can still be useful. My only suggestion for this book is that the author include the situational phrases that head each story in the table of contents to make it easier to reference stories that were more applicable for the reader or for easier reference in re-reading pertinent sections.
Stella Maris Press LLC