One and Only was such an encouraging read! As a fellow mother to an only child, it felt good to read that my concerns and fears are shared by other parents of onlies. I also gained understanding into a few of the reasons why adult onlies sometimes make such impassioned cases against their friends and family members having singletons.
A recurring theme in the book is "contrary to popular belief." I almost thought it should be the book's subtitle! It seems most of the myths about only children (and their parents) are purely anecdotal and not supported by research. I love that Lauren Sandler points out faulty and subjective reasoning when it occurs, especially when it's one of the many, common arguments against having an only child. Sandler also explores some of the sociological reasons behind the thought that onlies are unnatural. No matter what studies show, this perception seems to be deeply embedded in our culture. It's very hard to counteract. Sandler portrays this struggle well, and I felt a camaraderie with her because of that.
I wish Sandler had been a little bit more specific in her language in the chapter "The Fruitful Mandate." She used all-encompassing phrases such as "the faithful" and "church communities" when the specific behaviors and beliefs she was referring to apply to the Christian right. The people she interviewed and quoted regularly made this distinction, but you have to read between the lines to realize Sandler does, too.
The conclusion, "Against Folly," was amazing. Sandler's voice really shines through in these pages, and it's easy to feel a connection with her. And there is a powerful, powerful quote by Alice Walker's mother which touched me personally. The conclusion wraps everything up nicely; a difficult task, considering how multifaceted the topic is.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.