on September 28, 2008
Ms. Bartkowski has written a thoughtful book about the new ways that we love and sometime hate each other. Since the onset of DNA manipulation/identification, alternate partner structures and changes in society's expectations we are forced to look at what is meant by kinship. The author has wisely chosen many ways of examining this subject. She uses humor, books, films, animal behavior and scientific studies to research this interesting subject. High marks to Ms. Bartkowski.
on March 2, 2009
I was overwhelmed by this book!! The scope and breadth of Ms. Bartkowski's scholarship, and her probing inquiry and thoughtful discussion were just amazing. For example, she starts and ends the book with a hilarious bit from Mel Brooks in his portrayal of the 2000-year-old man, and in between she develops her insights with a dazzling array of references from literary, cinematic, medical, and anthropological sources, among others. Though I can't recall the last time I read quite such a scholarly work, I nevertheless found Ms. Bartkowski's book quite readable. Her generous use of film and literary plots (and yes, Mel Brooks) to develop and demonstrate her ideas made it terrific fun for the lay reader like myself (you'll probably want to run out and rent the movie "Lone Star," for example, if, like me, you've forgotten the plot). There is so much that can be said on the topic she's undertaken, yet in her relatively small work she covers so much in the discussion of whom, in this ever-changing world, we consider kin--which is to say, to whom do we owe love, protection, allegiance, etc. The book is very impressive--I wish I had the tools to discuss it in a more scholarly way, but suffice to say I found it thought-provoking and terribly insightful.