Book Review: The Nerdy Parent’s Guide to Raising a Nerdy Child by Leo Murphy – 1.5 stars

Ugh…I was so disappointed in this book. I had really high hopes that this would be what it promised: ‘a parenting guide that will help you engage with your little ones with crafts, games and recipes based on their new nerdy interests!’ I’m a huge Star Wars, Harry Potter and Hunger Games fan so this book should have been right up my alley. Instead, it turned out to be an encyclopedia of nerdy characters and plot lines that any good ‘nerdy’ parent would already know!

The Nerdy Parent’s Guide to Raising a Nerdy Child

The book covers the Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and other franchises in great detail. It also covers some lesser known shows, movies and video games like Firefly, Sailor Moon and Minecraft. While Murphy purports to provide ideas about how to get your kids excited about these different fandoms, the recommended activities boil down to making cardboard tube light sabers (Sat Wars, of course) and wooden wands (Harry Potter.) Quite honestly, there wasn’t a single activity included in the book that my 11 year old son couldn’t have thought of himself.

While the anthologies of episodes, characters and locations for each fandom were pretty comprehensive and somewhat interesting…I struggle to understand their inclusion in this particular book. If you love a fandom enough to consider yourself a ‘nerdy parent’ about it, you likely don’t need a book to tell you the names of the characters and the episodes and give you a synopsis of the overall storyline.

The content of the book is also somewhat disjointed. Some parts read as overly technical (like a series of misplaced footnotes): ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets—1998 (also a film released in 2002, rated PG)—In their second year at Hogwarts, Harry and his 2 friends must solve the fifty-year-old mystery of an evil force that is turning students at Hogwarts to stone.’ Other parts, however, are overly simplified. For example…an activity suggestion about creating your own Harry Potter Sorting Hat Ceremony contains only this information about Slytherin: ‘The serpent appears on its green and silver crest. Slytherin house values ambition, cunning, and resourcefulness.’

All in all, while I found the Nerdy Parent’s Guide to be a good idea in concept, I couldn’t figure out who the intended audience would be for the finished title. The information included seemed either incredibly light for those seeking ideas about how to indoctrinate their kiddos into their favorite fandom, or incredibly heavy for those who are already major fans!

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