Book Review: Bringing up Brits by Meghan Peterson Fenn
Date of Review: 17th April 2011
The global world that we now live in has presented us with a whole selection of possibilities that were once the preserve of the minority. With the increase in global communication and reach the chances are that you know, or are someone who is living in another country with your spouse. The prevalence of ex-pat parents is common enough for most of us not to think about it as a significant occurrence.
However, bringing up children in a country not of your own can be the burden that breaks a family. Imagine being a mother in a foreign country, without the language, but with children to support, teach and nurture. This can be a challenge over and above the normal trials of life.
‘Bringing Up Brits’ is the latest book from Meghan Peterson Fenn who tries to show what life is like for foreign mothers married to British men in Britain. It is a fact that in 2009 almost quarter of births were to this sector of the community and is a significant part of the population.
The aim of the book is to share experiences that other parents have been through, and to give advice in certain situations. It’s also about identity and retaining the cultural heritage that ex-pats bring to Britain.
This is not a book about foreigners, rather the things that bind us are the same the world over. The integration of non-natives into communities highlights that there is much to be learned, and much to be found in common with everyone else.
There is a danger that mixed nationality families suffer from being neither one nor the other – a marooned culture in a sea of national certainty, and that integration will never happen properly because of it. The opportunity is that as the world shrinks ever further and the possibilities for cheap travel develop even further, the chances that you’ll be part of a mixed nationality family.
This book provides a number of things. Comfort, that your story is not unique; Community, that chances are you’re not alone in your street, and Celebration, the world is getting smaller which means that we see more of it on our doorstep. Something that anyone in this sort of family should read and read again.
TOTAL MARK 4/5
Bringing up Brits is available on www.bringingupbrits.co.uk/buythebook.html at a special pre-release offer of £10 for Family Friendly Working Readers.