RUTH WHIPPMAN at Books Inc. Berkeley

Author image of Ruth Whippman and cover photo of her book Boymom: Reimagining Boyhood n the Age of Impossible Masculinity

Books Inc. Berkeley proudly welcomes local author, journalist and cultural critic Ruth Whippman to the shop for a celebration of her new book Boymom: Reimagining Boyhood in the Age of Impossible Masculinity!

Ruth will be in conversation with fellow writer Nathaniel Popper!

Blending cultural criticism, memoir, and reporting from the frontlines of contemporary American boyhood, this is a humorous and heartbreaking deep dive into the complexities of raising boys in our fraught political moment.

Evidence of male entitlement and aggression is everywhere—from school shooters to incels, campus rapists to the online ‘manosphere.’ In the absolutist climate of the culture wars, feminist writer and mother of three boys Ruth Whippman can sometimes find herself conflicted and defensive, as though stranded on one side of a symbolic divide with her own children on the other. But as she comes to realize, gender politics aren't simple. Male privilege and male vulnerability co-exist in a complex relationship; and raising boys who can challenge the confines of masculine expectations is more important now than ever.

With young men in the grip of a loneliness epidemic and dying by suicide at a rate of nearly four times their female peers, Whippman asks: What are the many cultural messages we send to boys that leave them anxious, emotionally repressed, and socially isolated? How do we raise our sons to have a healthy sense of self without turning them into entitled assholes? How can we find a feminism that holds boys to a higher standard but still treats them with empathy? And what do we do when our boys won’t cooperate with our plans?

BoyMom moves beyond simplistic, polarized thinking to uncover the myriad complex and invisible ways that systems of masculinity both harm boys and teach them to harm others. Determined to widen the possibilities for her own sons and subvert the social forces already affecting them, Whippman talks to boys of all types, as well as parents, educators, and other experts, and uncovers surprising and controversial truths about boy socialization. With humor and deep vulnerability, Whippman takes a stark look at her own parenting choices as well as wider narratives about mental health, school, sex, cancel culture, screens, popular culture, friendship, neurodiversity, and loneliness to make sense of how masculinity is constructed and experienced in our culture. In doing so, she charts a new path to help us give boys a healthier, more expansive, and fulfilling story about their lives.


“In this beautifully written book, Ruth Whippman draws on her experiences raising her own three sons as well as cultural critique and reporting to imagine a new future for boys in our post #MeToo world. By turns funny, heart-rending and revelatory, Whippman manages to deliver both an important contribution to the feminist literature as well as an emotive page-turner. A must-read, not just for mothers of sons but for anyone with boys or men in their lives.”—Eve Rodsky, New York Times bestselling author of Fair Play and Find Your Unicorn Space

“In her courageous book, Ruth Whippman takes on a subject long considered off-limits for mothers: boyhood and its myths and misconceptions. Weaving her moving journey as a mother to three sons through a remarkably lucid review of child development and masculinity literatures, she offers a powerful critique of our contemporary model for raising boys. In the end, she lovingly affirms boys’ right to be themselves and to exercise their own imaginations for the men they want to become.”—Michael Reichert, author of How to Raise a Boy

“Provocative and probing . . . Ruth Whippman, a mother of three rowdy boys, investigates the changing orthodoxies of manhood in America. She discovers loneliness and failed good intentions, but also a longing for connection, and moments of grace. Whippman shows that we ought to think harder about who we want our boys to become.”—Pamela Druckerman, author of Bringing Up Bébé

“Ruth Whippman’s evocative and deeply-reported account shines a light through the darkness of outmoded societal ‘rules’ of masculinity that can limit boys—and men—from connecting with their full humanity. This excellent book offers a roadmap for how to work together for liberation from these constraints. You will care about the boys and men you read about. I loved it.”—Devorah Heitner, author of Growing Up in Public

“Whippman grapples with difficult questions about modern boyhood searchingly and with good cheer, never settling for the easy answers and never flinching from painting herself in an (often hilariously) honest light. I found myself wishing she could be my guide through far more than just the thorny task of raising sons. This is a beautiful and wise book that will offer a balm to many mothers.”—Yael Goldstein-Love, author of The Possibilities

“This is a wonderful and timely book. Whippman is a gifted writer; funny, smart, vulnerable and wise all at the same time. As a mother of 3 boys, getting to the bottom of what boys want and need is part of Whippman’s mission, but it’s one from which we can all benefit. At a time when there is cultural confusion about what’s causing so many men and boys to suffer or fail, BOYMOM provides much-needed insight, wisdom, and clarity—not only for those raising sons—but for anyone a stake in the future of boys and men. In other words, practically all of us.”—Joshua Coleman, author of Rules of Estrangement


Ruth Whippman is a British author, journalist and cultural critic living in the United States. A former BBC documentary director and producer, her writing has appeared in the New York TimesTime magazine, New York magazine, The GuardianHuffPost, and elsewhere. Fortune described her as one of the "25 sharpest minds" of the decade. She is the author of the book America the Anxious, which was a New York Post Best Book of the Year, a New York Times Editors Choice and Paperback Row pick.  She lives in California with her husband and three sons.

Nathaniel Popper is the author of the upcoming book “The Trolls of Wall Street: How the Outcasts and Insurgents Are Hacking the Markets,” a tale of money, masculinity and online culture. It will be released in June by Dey Street Press. He is also the author of "Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money." Nathaniel covered the intersection of finance and technology for The New York Times for over a decade. Before joining the Times, he worked at the Los Angeles Times and The Forward.
Event date: 
Tuesday, June 4, 2024 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Books Inc. Berkeley
1491 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709
Pre-Order Now Badge
BoyMom: Reimagining Boyhood in the Age of Impossible Masculinity By Ruth Whippman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593577639
Availability: Coming Soon - AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER
Published: Harmony - June 4th, 2024