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33 Reviews
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Treatment of the Topic
What a terrific collection of essays! The editors, only children themselves, and their contributors have tilted the subject this way and that, shining light on the many facets of being a singleton. But the treatment isn't overly ponderous--it can be downright funny. Uviller's own essay begins with the story of a teenage sexual escapade that is a thoroughly enjoyable...
Published on January 2, 2007 by NewYorker

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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Only reviewing a book on Onlies....
I am an only child myself, and have an only child daughter. I bought this book as the begining my introspection into my own experience as an only child.

Let me say this-- this book will relate to only children very well except for the following points:
1) The majority authors appear to be native (born/raised/etc.) New Yorkers. I feel there was a lack of...
Published on July 3, 2007 by Katherine Cail


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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Only reviewing a book on Onlies...., July 3, 2007
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I am an only child myself, and have an only child daughter. I bought this book as the begining my introspection into my own experience as an only child.

Let me say this-- this book will relate to only children very well except for the following points:
1) The majority authors appear to be native (born/raised/etc.) New Yorkers. I feel there was a lack of variety in writing experience from other parts of the country.
2) I had a hard time relating to growing up in NYC stories- appartments, flats etc. I'm a midwestern girl who had space (luckily).
3)Nearly all the authors went to shrinks and therapists at some time in their life to deal with their parents.
4) All of them had traumatic dating experiences on par with the best soap operas.

I feel that people from sibling households who read this will think we Onlies are a bunch of whiney, wet-noodle loosers who are weak.

As I said, I am an only and while I can identify with the writers (and some are very dry, amusing and occasionally bitter) I cannot say that I regret my only status at all. Sure, life has rough spots for anyone, but the way I was raised- I turned out O.K., traveled extensively from where I'm born, didn't need a therapist and I have a great husband and friends.

We are not melodramatic, spoiled people.

It's light reading, but I wish the editors had solicited essay from a wider cadre of Onlies- like non-professional writers from across the country.

I give the book a 3 1/2 really...

Kathy Cail
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Treatment of the Topic, January 2, 2007
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NewYorker (Big Apple USA) - See all my reviews
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What a terrific collection of essays! The editors, only children themselves, and their contributors have tilted the subject this way and that, shining light on the many facets of being a singleton. But the treatment isn't overly ponderous--it can be downright funny. Uviller's own essay begins with the story of a teenage sexual escapade that is a thoroughly enjoyable side-splitter. Then the slapstick takes on real meaning as the author deftly re-imagines her parental interactions through the lens of a larger family. An article by Lynn Harris is also full of funny moments amid a very straight-forward treatment of the microscope-effect that I remember so well from my own singleton childhood.

This is not another "how to" book about parenting, thankfully, but any parent who was an only child or may parent one will find something useful here. So many of us have moved beyond that part of life where birth order was of daily importance to a new place where it again matters. Part III of the book deals specifically with the parenting angle. My favorite was Nimura's "Mother of Two," about the roller-coaster ride of watching the emerging sibling relationships she'd never experienced as a child.

The 19 different voices in this collection keep the topic fresh and interesting. I highly recommend this book!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful, January 23, 2007
This is a wonderful collection of essays. Buy it, buy it, buy it. Even if you are not an only-child or have never thought about the issues of only-childhood, buy it. Buy it because of the writing. The writers in this book could be writing about navel lint, but that would still be a collection I would get.

The essays are both poignant and hilarious, and often both. In fact, the two seem twined. Of particular note is the essay by Daphne Uviller, writing about `Laurie' the sibling she never had, whose absence both enabled her early sex life, and made her value her friends and husband during the passing of her father. Janice Nimura's essay is smart and touching, John Hodgman's made me laugh out loud. Tom Beller's essay is lovely.

There's a certain irony to having assembled a group of only-children writers. This book is packed with twenty-one entertaining siblings, one cool family.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars surrounded by onlies, July 10, 2007
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I'm the wife of an only, a man who loved being a singular sensation growing up. I'm also the mother of an only who didn't. So I was curious about what I'd find in this book. I found Siegel's piece particularly helpful in understanding why it was so hard to break into my husband's tight little family of three. And, in Teller's piece, I found reassurance that my daughter will be okay when we're even older and even grayer and she has to deal with us all by herself. Some of the pieces were laugh-out-loud funny (like the "wrong bedroom" scene in Uviller's piece), some were curious, some were sad. My final conclusion comforted me: like everything, there are lots of variations on the theme. And they're all interesting.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars must-read for spouses & parents of only children!, July 19, 2009
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This review is from: Only Child: Writers on the Singular Joys and Solitary Sorrows of Growing Up Solo (Paperback)
Even though I have a younger sister, I had two reasons to read this book: (1) I married an only-child, and (2) I'm parenting an only-child. My husband is a wonderful man, and this book has helped me to better understand how he was shaped by his childhood and to think through the challenges he may soon face (with aging parents). It's also given me insight into what my 5-year-old daughter may be struggling with now (like how to respond to her occasional requests for a baby sister). The editors/authors brought together a captivating mix of voices in this anthology, featuring writers who allow us to experience rich, detailed snapshots of their lives as only children.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for an only child or anyone who knows one, August 4, 2007
This was a terrific book. Although I am an only child with many only child friends, I had never thought so much about how much that aspect of my background shaped my life. Reading this book was like reading my own diary - I discovered many things in common with these writers, and found their stories funny, heartwarming and fascinating. I want to give it to everyone I know so that they will understand me better! So glad I found this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars View From The Other Side, July 9, 2007
By 
Douglas Ramsay (Kensington, MD United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
While I'm not familiar with the dynamics of large families, I did grow up with a younger brother, and I'm the proud parent of two boys. It's hard for me to imagine life without my brother, but this book provides great insight into the life of an only child. I found the essays to be very enlightening, and they really made me consider both the positives and negatives of having siblings.

From the perspective of someone who did grow up with siblings, I highly recommend this book to people who are interested in understanding more about the only children in their lives.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful collection of essays, July 9, 2007
I read this book with great interest, not because I'm an only child (or have only children), but because I enjoy reading about family experiences and how they shape adult life. This book did not disappoint! I found it fascinating how each author's experience was so different, with some relishing in their only-hood and others finding ways to feel less solitary. Even so, common themes abound. It truly enjoyed peeking into the lives of some extremely well written authors to see how something as seemingly demographic as family size affects people throughout their development.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't read this book..., June 18, 2008
By 
K. Cole (NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Only Child: Writers on the Singular Joys and Solitary Sorrows of Growing Up Solo (Paperback)
...if you're still trying to come to grips with whether or not you want to have only one child. I was sure until I read this book, and it depressed the hell out of me! The first chapter is about desperately lonely-to- psycholigically ruined social misfits with neglectful parents. So you think, well, ok, the parents were terrible, but I'm not. Then you go to overly-doting parents who create self-centered, depressed social misfits who turn to alchohol and abusive relationships as screwed-up adults. And then my personal favorite, if you decide to be a "liberal" parent who thinks it's amusing to find your under-age daughter in your bed with a man old enough to be arrested for it, well, then, you should be OK. GAH!!!!
I have to admit, I haven't read the whole thing yet, and to be honest I don't know if I can take anymore. This book is not helping and I sure as hell won't lend it to a friend who is still on the fence about raising an only.
This book was the exact opposite of what I was hoping for, and obviously did not make me feel better about my child being an only. I give it 3 stars because I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt that it will turn around, and because some of the stories were well-written (and others were not).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating diverse stories on the topic, January 27, 2009
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This review is from: Only Child: Writers on the Singular Joys and Solitary Sorrows of Growing Up Solo (Paperback)
Writers of every-style muse on the subject of growing up an only child. Some very grateful, some with degrees of dissappointment. Interesting to see the diverse reasons they ended up in 1 kid families. A great collection.
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Only Child: Writers on the Singular Joys and Solitary Sorrows of Growing Up Solo
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