Reveals the hard science behind our tenderest maternal impulses, tackling questions such as whether a new mom's brain ever really bounces back, why mothers are destined to mimic their own moms (or not), and how maternal aggression makes females the world's most formidable creatures.
While taking the reader on a traipse through various laboratories, Tucker tosses off quips like a class clown on a science field trip. She’s cutesy about her subject ... This kind of voice has its place in a mom blog or standup show. But a topic inherently prone to gender stereotypes deserves the intellectually engaging reportage of which Tucker is quite capable. One has to ask: What is Tucker doing? ... Tucker is at her finest in retelling this dark struggle...From this humbled perspective she summons a deep compassion for mothers who have to go without this social support ... Tucker climbed that mountain of inconclusive science about how humans succeed at the terrifying and ancient task of mothering only to find the answers closer to home. And that’s what makes her tale ultimately redeemable and encouraging. If you can set down your expectations of reading about scientific breakthroughs and allow yourself to willingly cross the border from exposition into memoir, you might just see that an intriguing subject — the author herself — awaits you.
... an impressive synthesis of the current state of 'mom science,' a fairly new and fecund field that mostly considers how mothers are different from other people and similar to each other ... Ms. Tucker is clear on both the context and limits of these sex-based changes ... This is a fascinating book. Although Ms. Tucker’s writing occasionally adopts the chirpiness of a mommy blog, her research is deft, comprehensive, engaging and heavily footnoted. Her stories about her own parenting misadventures, including her emergency C-section and a bout with postpartum depression, helpfully illustrate the role context plays in our experience of parenthood.
Meticulously researched and well-documented, Mom Genes is one part memoir (Tucker intersperses her own experiences as a white mother of four children), and one part incredibly readable popular science ... Richly entertaining, filled with humor, and deeply informative, this engaging book is recommended for mothers, potential mothers, and anyone who has ever known a mother.