One and Only

One and Only

The Freedom of Having An Only Child, and the Joy of Being One

Book - 2013
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Baker & Taylor
A prominent journalist, only child, and mother of an only child presents a case in support of one-child family life, offering perspectives on how single-child families can benefit the economy and environment while promoting child and parent autonomy.

& Taylor

"A prominent journalist, only child and mother of an only child presents an unstinting case in support of the benefits of one-child family life, challenging popular beliefs while offering perspectives on how single-child families can benefit the economy and environment while promoting child and parent autonomy. 40,000 first printing."

Simon and Schuster
Debunking the myth that only children are selfish, maladjusted “little emperors,” a prominent journalist makes a funny, tough-minded, and honest case for being and having an only child.

A humorous, tough-minded, and honest case for being and having an only child .

Journalist Lauren Sandler is an only child and the mother of one. After investigating what only children are really like and whether stopping at one child is an answer to reconciling motherhood and modernity, she learned a lot about herself—and a lot about our culture’s assumptions. She brings a passion and a laser-sharp intelligence to the subject that cuts through the anxiety, doubt, misinformation, and judgment about what it means to be an only child and what it means to have one. In this heartfelt work, Sandler legitimizes a conversation about the larger societal costs of having more than one. If parents no longer felt they had to have second children to keep from royally screwing up their first, would the majority of them still do it? And if the literature tells us that a child isn’t better off with a sibling than without one, and it’s not something parents truly want for themselves, then whom is this choice serving? One and Only examines these questions, exploring what the rise of the single-child family means for our economies, our environment, and our freedom. Through this journey, Sandler has quite possibly cracked the code of happiness, demonstrating that having just one may be the way to resolve our countless struggles with adulthood in the modern age.

Publisher: New York :, Simon & Schuster,, [2013]
ISBN: 9781451626957
Characteristics: 209 pages ; 22 cm


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Feb 20, 2015

I wanted to hug this author after reading this book. Not only does she back up everything she is stating with actual facts, but she reassures the reader that their only child will be just fine. What is also helpful is that she was an only child and her child is an only child, so the perspectives and opinions written in this book were definitely from someone who has "been there done that". This is a definite must have read for anyone who is thinking or has definitely decided to have a one and only child. Great read!

ksoles Nov 14, 2013

In a 1907 lecture, child psychologist G. Stanley Hall asserted, “being an only child is a disease in itself.” Even as times have changed, even as the economic impetus for large families has dwindled, even as current research has disproven stereotypes, only children still get a bad rap. But, as both an only child and the mother of a singleton herself, Lauren Sandler argues that more parents should consider stopping at one. In her thoughtful, well-reasoned book, she presents a slew of studies concluding that only children outperform their sibling-ed peers academically, professionally, and personally, overthrowing the longstanding image of the only child as selfish, maladjusted, and eternally lonely.

Sandler writes honestly, movingly and often humourously about the strengths she developed while growing up an only: independence, well-roundedness and the ability to form particularly deep friendships. She also acknowledges the negative aspects, in particular the solitary burden she will bear as her parents age as well as the sometimes-too-intense emotional atmosphere of the one-child family, where the “gaze is more intense, the love undiluted.” While the research in "One and Only" compels (especially for mothers, whose income drops with each additional child) and engages, it may prove a difficult sell for readers who can’t imagine life without their siblings. Ultimately, parents today can and should choose the life they want for themselves and their families, whether that means multiple kids or none at all.

Sep 25, 2013

The cultural pressure to have more than one child, apparently hard-wired into our collective DNA, is so enormous that not having any children at all is seen as preferable to having only one. Lauren Sandler addresses this emotionally-charged subject in the best way she can even though she's up against generations of opinion that says otherwise. The introduction is the book's home run. It highlights the problem and touches upon all the counter-arguments in one elegant section. The rest of the book expands on the introduction, and is worth reading, but lacks the same punch as the intro. The last chapter, the one about growing a sustainable population, I felt weakened her argument a little.

Aug 15, 2013

As the mother of a single child, I'm to this day trying to justify to myself that I did not somehow deprive my child of all kinds of benefits a sibling would have provided. Thus, it was with great eagerness that I read this book. Lauren Sandler does not defend her decision to have just one child by relating facts and figures that only support this position; rather she comments on both sides of this eternal debate. What is important is that at the end of the book I feel my 35 year angst vanishing and believing that my decision was both personally and socially responsible. Thank you Lauren!


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