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The Granny Diaries: An Insider's Guide for New Grandmothers

Adair Lara's Humor, Wisdom Make This a Must-Read

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


The Granny Diaries: An Insider's Guide for New Grandmothers
Photo © Chronicle Books

The Bottom Line

This book is a welcome break from those tomes which treat grandparenting with either deadly seriousness or cloying sentimentality, or both. The anecdotes will make you laugh out loud, but The Granny Diaries has substance as well. New grandmothers will find this little book invaluable, and those who are not new to grandparenting will enjoy it as well.

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  • Excellent advice
  • Humorous style
  • Delightful illustrations


  • Stiff binding


  • Written by Adair Lara
  • Illustrations by Patricia Storms
  • 120 pages
  • Published by Chronicle Books
  • List price $12.95

Guide Review - The Granny Diaries: An Insider's Guide for New Grandmothers


For some reason, we have an abundance of funny mommies, but a shortage of funny grandmothers. Perhaps grandmothers fear that if they don't treat their role seriously, they won't be considered competent grandparents. Adair Lara debunks that notion with this little book which contains plenty of laughs but dispenses rock-solid grandparenting advice as well.

Lara begins with that rite of passage for grandmothers-to-be: choosing a grandmother name. Describing herself as "an aging tomboy who can't cook and rides a bicycle everywhere," she tried to avoid "Grandma, a word that lay in wait for me like a pair of dentures in a glass." Before she even has a proper grandmother name, she faces the first great revelation of a grandmother's life: "It's not your baby." The parents, not the grandmother, get to decide what the baby wears, eats and plays with. It's a huge adjustment for those who remember when the parents used to spit up and poo in their diapers.

Lara next describes how parenting has changed since she was a child. "We kids were set out in the yard in the morning and brought in at night, like cats," she writes. "A kid who was in the house was a kid who was running up the light bill." Grandparents today, Lara advises, have to accept the modern mania for child safety and read up on current parenting practices before they'll be trusted to actually take care of their grandchildren. She advises grandparents to join the "bite-your-tongue club" and especially avoid saying anything about the grandchild's name or hair. (I agree. See "What Not to Say.")

Later chapters cover babysitting and not babysitting, the pitfalls of gift-giving, long-distance grandparenting and dealing with other-grandmother jealousy, all handled with Lara's irreverent humor and uncommon common sense. In case you're still curious about those grandparent names, Lara avoided the Grandma tag. She and her husband became Bobbie and Pepe.


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