To Raise a Boy by Emma Brown | Atria Books {Book Review}

{Thank you to Atria Books for my gifted copy}

To Raise a BoyTo Raise a Boy by Emma Brown


Book Summary:

A journalist’s searing investigation into how we teach boys to be men—and how we can do better.

How will I raise my son to be different? This question gripped Washington Post investigative reporter Emma Brown, who was at home nursing her six-week-old son when the #MeToo movement erupted. In search of an answer, Brown traveled around the country, through towns urban and rural, affluent and distressed. In the course of her reporting, she interviewed hundreds of people—educators, parents, coaches, researchers, men, and boys—to understand the challenges boys face and how to address them.

What Brown uncovered was shocking: 23 percent of boys believe men should use violence to get respect; 22 percent of an incoming college freshman class said they had already committed sexual violence; 58 percent of young adults said they’ve never had a conversation with their parents about respect and care in sexual relationships. Men are four times more likely than women to die by suicide. Nearly 4 million men experience sexual violence each year.

From the reporter who brought Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s story to light, To Raise a Boy combines assiduous reporting, cutting-edge scientific research, and boys’ powerful testimonials to expose the crisis in young men’s emotional and physical health. Emma Brown connects the dots between educators, researchers, policymakers, and mental health professionals in this tour de force that upends everything we thought we knew about boys.

Johns Hopkins chair of the Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health Robert Blum says, “The story of boys has yet to be told, and I think it’s a really important story.” Urgent and revelatory, To Raise a Boy begins to tell that story.

Publication Date:

March, 2nd 2021


Political Science / Public Policy/ Gender Studies

Purchase Your Copy:

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

My Review:

To Raise a Boy

As soon as I saw the title of this book, I knew it was one that I wanted to pick up. To Raise a Boy by Emma Brown is comprehensive and research-backed and upends much of what we thought we knew about boys today. As a mother to two sons, this was an especially fascinating look at not only understanding the many pressures men feel but also how rigidly society defines masculinity right from birth.

Brown emphasized how what boys learn growing up really matters, but it also means we might need to redefine the messages we send and how we “teach boys to be boys”. Learning more about the balance between how biology and society shape us into who we are fascinated me.

To Raise a Boy

For example, humans, in general, are born wanting to connect deeply but often from a young age, it is not always something that is as encouraged with boys. This then results in an inaccurate idea of their overall desires for emotional connection.

The subconscious messages boys are often sent are fundamentally different than with girls, and while biology most definitely shapes us, society does too. In order for boys to grow up into men who feel comfortable being themselves (whoever that may be) our interactions, dialogue, and even some of our systems need to be overhauled.

This book left me with so much to think about (from how we talk about emotions and friendships, to our discussions about sex and consent) and is a topic that I could discuss all day long. I highly recommend this thought proving and eye-opening research-backed look at how we define masculinity today – and the changes we can make for the future.

To Raise a Boy book review

Thank you to Atria Books and One Signal Publishers for my gifted copy. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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