Susan Montjar, the author of Get Ready to Be a Grandmother in Less than Nine Months! has four grandchildren in Durango schools, so she clearly has experience in her subject. She also has been a first-grade teacher and a college professor of public relations.Montjar started research in 2000 when she first heard she was going to be a grandmother. The book is not scholarly. The author says it's practical. Sometimes it's simplistic. She warns, for example, not to be domineering and try to take over the new family's life. Surely prospective grandmothers know that.
She researched her pool of possible readers, saying there are nearly 4 million grandmothers made per year. She claims to have conducted research with 200 of them.
Montjar is aiming at prosperous grandmothers. She includes a chapter about many ways to give money to your grandchildren and how to furnish and decorate a room in your home for them, as if you had an extra room sitting around. Will new granny Sarah Palin be a reader?
Montjar points out the obvious: New grandmothers will be unlike their own grandmother. She suggests emulating the best qualities of one's female ancestors and eschewing the worst. She ends portentously, "Peer into a mirror - it might help."
The author's tone and choice of content are patronizing. And her language is awkward. For example, "becoming a grandmother is going to be an extremely ubiquitous phase in your life and salient to your being."
She offers ample advice such as a list of craft projects, two lists of lullabies, a list of children's books, a recipe and a list of topics about which to talk to your children. But when communicating with your children, she says never to use e-mail for fear of misunderstanding. That wouldn't be advice I'd take.
As for topics of family communication, Montjar writes that the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests banning television before a child is 2 years old. She suggests getting a feeling about the new family's response to this. I'm guessing many new families wouldn't appreciate a granny with that news.
Toward the end of the book, Montjar writes a scant paragraph about the development of the fetus each month and then tells her readers at greater length how they should be progressing with their photo albums and genealogical charts by this point.
The book isn't a must-have. Or even a should-have.