Wednesday, 16 February 2011
The Baby Owner's Manual: Operating Instructions, Trouble-shooting Tips and Advice on First-year Maintenance by Louis and Joe Borgenicht (review)
This book was written by two men and is catering for blokes or Top Gear fans of both genders. It might be "male-friendly" but it is quite immature in its approach. If the supposedly humourous style was confined just to the Introduction, it might have even been funny. As it goes on through the book until the last page, the joke gets stale and yawn-inducingly boring. Parents are referred to as users and owners, baby - a model. This "joke" is repeated on every page. I am not easily offended but when I read instructions "Check your model carefully. If any parts are missing, notify your service provider immediately", I want to scream. Meaning what exactly? That if your child is disabled, you return him to the hospital? And swap for a perfect model, like buying a TV? The same pathetic joke is repeated as "warning signs" describing baby's developmental milestones. It is obviously written by people who don't have a personal experience of having a child with developmental delays, otherwise, they might have been more careful and sensitive on the subject.
More examples of jokes: "These characteristics (i.e. babies not sleeping well) are not defects of the manufacturer, and they can be overcome with proper maintenance" (page 112) Are you laughing? A reference to a pacifier on page 56 claims "Plug one into your model to activate silent mode" Isn't it just hysterical?!
Have a look at the images. "Massaging the baby" has two pictures of a baby peeing and passing gas, both have "Caution" sign next to them. Are you rolling yet with laughter? No. I thought so.
Even if the basic advice on care and safety is correct, the gadget approach made me feel very annoyed. Wouldn't advise this book to anyone who wants a proper guide on baby's development.
P.S. An original review first appeared on The Baby Website who kindly provided me with a free copy to review. This is a slightly extended version, with images added.
P.P.S. My friend Penny suggested using the phrase "... in the World" in my review since I mentioned the Top Gear above, so here is my conclusion: this is the most ridiculous baby book in the world. :)