I read the book and think it was extremely eye-opening. I have definitely changed the way I parent as a result, though in subtle ways. I wouldn't call myself a CC'er, but I am very careful about the "hovering" thing. I do think as a result, my dd and ds were able to go up and down stairs, climb up on kitchen chairs and sit down, etc. earlier than a lot of tots. My mom has noticed that we obsess a lot less about dd and ds getting into danger. Now, you have to counter that with the fact that we DID childproof - no cleaning supplies or vitamins, outlets plugged, etc. I think the heights/falling thing IS part of our continuum, but avoiding electrical outlets and cherry-flavored Tylenol most definitely is NOT, kwim? When we're at the playground, I also say "OK, time to head to the car" and just (slowly) start to walk to the car. I swear I'm not lying when I say 9 times out of 10 they toddle after me when the distance between us gets too far for their liking (not dangerous far, and of course I'm still watching them carefully). I started that when they learned to crawl and I hurt my back... I couldn't lift both of them simultaneously for a couple of weeks, so I would say, "Time to go to the stroller!" and walk out of the room to the stroller. And they would crawl after me so I could take them out to the car (our stroller stays in our front hall, and used to be handy transport to the car before they could walk). A lot of people I know have to chase after their kids. I NEVER made that into a game.... the whole, running around and fleeing mommy chase game when it's time to go somewhere.
Anyway, while I did get some really great perspectives from the book, I have several serious problems with it still. First, as others have mentioned, it's based on a very small sample of the human population. Second, she had no training in anthropology or sociology before she went on her first trip - she apparently made a whole lot of associations and inferences that first time (a common mistake in people unaccustomed to observing in a scientific way) that may have seriously clouded her judgement, especially when it came time to writing down what she was seeing and thinking about WHY things were the way they were. As in, "Look! The kids are happy! Let's find the first thing that sticks out as different from my culture [constant babywearing, for example] and call that the reason why!" I love babywearing and think it is wonderful, but that assessment (and others like it) seem a little naive to me and discount any number of other valid reasons why they may seem
happy to a girl from North America. There has also been a part of me that feels like the book is a little too, um, racist, for lack of a better word. I know that's super-inflammatory to say, but the whole "young white girl goes to an uncivilized
tribe, thinking they're the next best thing to Neanderthals. I mean, who's to say they haven't advanced in ways that suit their own social, physical, economic, and demographic needs, just like the rest of us? Just because they don't have cars and TVs and Diet Coke doesn't make them "less than" us or "behind" us in my book. People have brilliant minds and are able to adapt to their circumstances in amazing ways -- just because the Yequana didn't communicate regularly with the "outside world" doesn't mean they haven't adapted or advanced since the dawn of time!
And yeah, the homosexuality thing bugs me too. I know she "retracted it" but it calls into question a lot of her judgements.
But... all this notwithstanding, I think it is a very good book - one perspective on human existence, and does raise some really interesting challenges to modern-day parents, especially as it relates to over-focus on young children, unwillingness to include children in daily chores, hovering and being over-protective, and bypassing the breastfeeding and "in arms" phase.
I do recommend it to people, even mainstream friends, because I think it is a good book and very interesting. But IMO it's not a "parenting book."