Hothouse Kids – Is it Worth the Read?
Hothouse Kids – The Dilemma of the Gifted Child tells the story of gifted children – the good and the bad. The author, Alissa Quart, shares her own personal story of giftedness while exploring many areas of the gifted world. She talks about smart baby products, intelligence testing, public schools, private schools, competitions, early careers, prodigy hunters and of course extreme parenting.
Quart shares many success stories of happy (and some wealthy) gifted children, as well as once child prodigies later in life. She showcases supportive well-functioning families and discusses the dynamics that work for them. She also exposes darker stories of overexpectation, exploitation, and depression. She tells the stories of children that were pushed too hard, too fast, or in a direction that they didn’t even have an interest. It’s clear that Quart intended and was successful at showing the big picture, although her stories are definitely weighted more heavily toward the over-involved and extreme parents. It’s almost an underlying theme in the book.
This is an especially good read in the sense that it allows parents to see the trials and tribulations of other gifted families, but without pointing any blame at themselves. It’s sometimes helpful to look from the outside in to see what happens inside our own families. Few of us will have the sensational stories like the families in the book, and in some sense reading it may even help ensure that.
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