Jennifer Senior is a contributing editor at New York Magazine, where she writes profiles and cover stories about politics, social science, and mental health. She won the Front Page Award from the Newswomen’s Club of New York for magazine feature writing in 1999; the GLAAD award for magazine feature writing in 2002; and the Erikson Prize in Mental Health Media in 2011. Senior is an excellent speaker for schools, parenting groups, and corporations.
All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood (Ecco), published in January 2014, is her first book. It spent six weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list, and appeared on the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and Denver Post Best Seller lists as well. Thousands of books have examined the effects of parents on their children. But almost none have thought to ask: what are the effects of children on their parents? Senior tries to tackle this question, isolating and analyzing the many ways children reshape their parents’ lives, whether it’s their marriages, their jobs, their habits, their hobbies, their friendships, or their internal senses of self. She argues that changes in the last half-century have radically altered the roles of today’s mothers and fathers, making their mandates at once more complex and far less clear. Recruiting from a wide variety of sources—in history, sociology, economics, psychology, philosophy, and anthropology—she dissects both the timeless strains of parenting and the ones that are brand new, and then brings her research to life in the homes of ordinary parents around the country.
Senior’s work has been anthologized four times in THE BEST AMERICAN POLITICAL WRITING, and her 2006 profile of Barack Obama, “Dreaming of Obama,” is the closing essay in NEW YORK STORIES: Landmark Writing From Four Decades Of New York Magazine. She has been a frequent guest on NPR and numerous television programs, including Charlie Rose, The Chris Matthews Show, Hardball, Morning Joe, Washington Journal with Brian Lamb, CNN American Morning, Anderson Cooper 360, Good Morning America, and Today. She is a regular contributor to the New York Times Book Review, and in 2003-2004 was a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine.
In 2011, Senior joined the advisory board of the Austen Riggs Center. She graduated summa cum laude in anthropology from Princeton University in 1991. This March, she spoke both at TED’s annual conference (main stage) and at the Sydney Opera House.
Praise for Jennifer Senior:
“Jennifer Senior is a generous and engaging speaker. She gives voice to the feelings and experiences most parents have, but few talk about. Her message is important and empowering for parents to hear.”
—Sara Kendall, VP Programming, The Park School of Baltimore Parents' Association
Praise for All Joy and No Fun:
“All Joy and No Fun is the perfect intellectual Rx for today’s overstressed parents: a calm, clear-eyed synthesis of all the reasons their lives seem to be falling apart. While scrupulously considering the ‘big data’ recent studies—as well as findings by pioneers like Margaret Mead—Senior reports from the collapsing front lines of our striving middle class. Yet this book’s triumph is the way the author’s own observations, presented with winning modesty and offhanded style, so brilliantly take down myths and assumptions to reveal why today’s parents find their experience of raising children so different from what their own childhoods had led them to expect. Amidst the bummers of modern parenthood, Senior finds jolts of transcendent meaning and satisfaction that liberate us from the “mazes of self-interest” that can otherwise dominate our days—it’s why we persist in bringing into the world creatures destined to wreck our lives. This is a profound book about the meaning of love and how we raise not just our children but ourselves.”
— Tom Reiss, author of The Black Count, winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize
“Travelling far beyond the infant and toddler years into the acute challenges of adolescence, Senior ingeniously deconstructs the kinds of experiences that all parents have but few parents talk about. By taking the reality of parenting out of the closet, she reveals in countless ways that none of us are in this alone. I loved this book.”
— Madeline Levine, bestselling author of Teach Your Children Well
“A brilliant synthesis of history and social science, (All Joy and No Fun) is an indispensable map for a journey that most of us take without one. Brilliant, funny and brimming with insight, All Joy and No Fun is an important book that every parent should read, and then read again. Jennifer Senior is surely one of the best writers--and wisest moms--on the planet.”
— Daniel Gilbert, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Stumbling on Happiness Daniel Gilbert, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of Stumbling on Happiness
“If you’re a parent in the year 2014, you have to get your hands on a copy of this book. Wise, engrossing, and so real that I fear perhaps Jennifer Senior has been spying inside my house, All Joy and No Fun is a must-read for those of us whose lives have been immeasurably enriched and logistically derailed by having kids.”
— Curtis Sittenfeld, bestselling author of Prep and American Wife.
Salted with insights and epigrams, the book is argued with bracing honesty and flashes of authentic wisdom…[an] excellent book.”
— Andrew Solomon, The New York Times Book Review
“Always generous in tone, Senior is a keen observer of the impact children have on their parents’ marriages, mental health, work, and social lives, and she makes deft use of social-science research...the book’s most useful contribution may be the connection it makes between joy...and, surprisingly, grief.”
— The New Yorker
“Attention childless persons: If you’re thinking of having kids, and are looking for an accurate assessment of the experience, disregard the holiday cards you may have received that portray merry families in various stages of triumph. Instead, read Jennifer Senior’s book. This eloquent read is a tonic”
— Huffington Post
“(ALL JOY AND NO FUN is a) richly woven, entertaining, enlightening, wrenching and funny book.”
— Washington Post