Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons From the Myths of Boyhood

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1st edition hard cover.

Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons From the Myths of Boyhood is a book of child psychology by William Pollack which focuses on males. Its message is that boys are pushed too often and too early to become stoic and independent according to an out-dated sexist "boy-code" which causes deep-seated emotional issues resulting in bad behavior and ultimately, mental health problems. The book gives several ideas for how to correct this problem.

I picked this book up at a library book sale. I was interested in it from the title, because my boyhood childhood was anything but the storybook version. I also read it in preparation of becoming a parent, and, naturally, I ended up having two girls, however, the general message--don't raise children to be stereotypes--is useful for everyone.


I own a first edition hardcover and have read it.



  • I found myself nodding in agreement to nearly everything the author wrote about boys becoming emotionally scarred from always being told to man-up and tough it out, not to display emotions (especially sadness and fear), and from mothers being told to distance themselves from their boys and not to coddle them.
  • While I found a lot of what the author said to be common sense, there were plenty of interesting pieces of advice that I hadn't considered.
  • The book covers a wide range of topics including divorce, puberty, drugs, sexuality, bullying, abuse, and provides constructive methods for educating and mentoring young men about them.


  • Although the book provides a long list of sources, it doesn't cite them as you read along, which makes it very difficult to look anything up for yourself.
  • The author uses the phrase "I believe..." too often for my taste. While I appreciate the honesty, and I'm okay with a person giving me their interpretation of data, I prefer the sentences which read, "double-blind scientific studies show..."


  • Nothing.


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