I'll confess now, I'm really not the target audience here - I don't have any kids, and I don't really plan to. Kay's the mom, but I'm the one with the patience to read digital books, and when this book caught my eye on netGalley, I didn't think twice about requesting it. And I'm glad I didn't, because it turned out to be both an informative and engrossing read.
What I really want to emphasize about this book - you know, other than its content - is that it's never boring. I know that non-fiction often turns people (like me) off, because there's this idea that it's going to end up reading like the most boring textbook you ever had, but in this case, at least, this is not so. Orenstein has a good sense of humor, and her writing style is very engaging, very conversational, and very easy to read. The subjects flow very naturally, and the studies and figures Orenstein presents are never difficult to grasp. Plus, she balances them out with the human factor - stories about situations she's been in with her own daughter, situations her friends and the people she's interviewing have been in, and it all blends together to create this very engrossing narrative. I've read it twice, and both times I was both surprised and a little disappointed to find that I'd reached the end.
Content-wise, Orenstein makes a lot of great points here, and explores a lot of issues and questions that arise in the mass-marketed world of children today. She starts out examining the rise of the Disney Princess toy line, and from there takes a look at the way companies have segmented and color-coded children's...everything. Toys, clothes, television programs. I've worked in a toy department for the past two years, and I'm not sure I've seen a toy specifically made for little girls that isn't pink or purple. Yet this wasn't always the case - at one time, according to Orenstein, pink was considered a masculine color, and blue a feminine one. But the marketing executive's excuse for the color-coding and ultra-feminine toys for girls of today? It's what the kids want. Girls are just born loving pink.
So Orenstein tackles this theory - is it what the kids want? Are there some toys that just naturally appeal to girls? Orenstein's findings lead her to a series of other subjects...
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