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Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do Hardcover – May 4, 2009


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Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do + The Happy Stepmother: Stay Sane, Empower Yourself, Thrive in Your New Family + Stepcoupling: Creating and Sustaining a Strong Marriage in Today's Blended Family
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; First Edition (1 in number line) edition (May 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618758194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618758197
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Fascinating... Informative and carefully researched." -Salon.com

"[Martin's] insights and advice are more clear and articulate than those offered in any other book on the subject that's currently available." -LA Examiner

"For women who find themselves in a similar family dynamic, Martin's book should come as a welcome relief, and proof that they are not alone." -Bust

About the Author

WEDNESDAY MARTIN holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Yale. She was a regular contributor to the New York Post's parenting page for several years, and her work has appeared in a number of national magazines. Martin, a stepmother for nine years, lives with her husband and their two sons. www.wednesdaymartin.com

More About the Author

Wednesday Martin holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from Yale. She was a regular contributor to New York Post's parenting page for more than five years, and her work has appeared in a number of national magazines. Martin, a stepmother for nine years, lives in New York City with her husband and their two sons.

Customer Reviews

I fell in love with a wonderful man.
barbara strategier
Thank you, Wednesday Martin, for finally giving stepmothers validation and a voice.
Lisa C. McDermott
After reading this book, I finally feel like I'm not alone.
SM

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

169 of 177 people found the following review helpful By S. Miller on August 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me start off by saying that nothing has liberated me from my internal struggles with step-motherhood like this book has. It has allowed me to feel okay about how I feel. Before my marriage I knew I was going to need some good advice on step-mothering so I bought a book on it. (And many others since) Regrettably, it was not this book as it was not yet published. THIS is the book you need. This book was written by a stepmother, for stepmothers. A negative review of this book could only come from someone who has not experienced step-motherhood!

Since many won't read this review in its entirety, I must get this out right now...If you are contemplating marriage to a man with children then let me share a secret that no one shared with me... There isn't anything fun about a step family, and to elaborate, there is nothing fun about being a stepmom. I thought that step-motherhood was a mission I could undertake and I thought my gain was going to be far greater than my loss. I assure you... I was wrong!! No one warned me AT ALL of what I was facing and I am straight up pissed off about that. Being a step-mother makes for a difficult, lonely life and it doesn't ever feel like a real family. So I hate to sound bitter here, but the fact is, I am bitter. Save yourself the heartache. This is not what marriage (or family) was intended to be. Read this book and take heed! If you are not moved to seriously reevaluate your decision to marry this man, then you are a hopeless optimist. You will, throughout your marriage, be able to relate to damn near every sentence in this book.

Stepmonster - Even the title might scare you from reading it. Who would want to admit that they might be a Stepmonster? And you could certainly never let anyone see you reading this book.
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91 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Michele Hush on June 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Wednesday Martin could have written a moving memoir about her own experiences as a stepmother. She could have pieced together an enlightening narrative from interviews with stepmothers. Or she could have done a scholarly, rigorously researched treatise on what history and sociobiology have to say about stepmothering. Instead she has done all three, succinctly and articulately, in fewer than 300 pages.

Stepmonster dares to speak uncomfortable truths: that even the nicest stepmothers and stepchildren frequently don't like each other; that it can take years for stepfamilies to settle into something resembling a satisfactory adjustment; that stepmothers and stepchildren virtually never form bonds as close as birth parents and children; and that all of these things are completely normal.

For any woman who is a stepmother or is considering becoming one, this book is like water in the desert.
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Lisa C. McDermott on April 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In a word: "Wow!"

This is truly a first-of-its-kind book about stepmothering as it focuses exclusively on the needs, perceptions, emotions and experiences of the stepmother. Thank you, Wednesday Martin, for finally giving stepmothers validation and a voice. Well-written and impeccably sourced, it presents an unflinching look at stepmothering. I couldn't put it down and read it in one day!

I know from personal experience, both as a stepmother and stepdaughter, that stepparenting is one of the toughest and most thankless jobs in the world; compassion fatigue is a real risk. And, unfortunately, to date, most of the books disseminated by the blended family/stepparenting industry are child-centric, advising newly-blended families to put the needs of the children from the prior marriage first. Add to that all of the messages from popular culture, media, etc. that subtly and not-so-subtly vilify stepmothers (e.g., "Cinderella") and it should come as no surpise that second marriages with stepchildren fail at such an alarming rate. "Stepmonster" brings a fresh perspective to this particular sub-genre of self-help books; I sincerely hope it is but the first of many books to fairly explore the precarious role of the stepmother in modern family life.

My personal take-away message from this book was that, as stepparents and stepchildren, we are, to each other, non-essential personnel and must strive to form our bonds based upon civility and mutual respect (picking up after oneself doesn't hurt either!). We don't have to a have a perfect relationship or one that mimics the biological parent-child relationship.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Michele Lee B. on February 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I approached reading this book with great trepidation and ambivalence. With a title like Stepmonster, who wouldn't be intimidated? But once I began, I was captivated with Dr. Martin's voice--her humor, her personal experience, her candid revelations on some of the most uncomfortable emotions that stepmothers often feel. She brought to the surface issues that we stepmoms are too terrified to admit to lest we appear to be emotionally unstable and worse, "unmaternal." She doesn't tiptoe around the unspeakable taboo topics--jealousy toward the stepchild, dealing with a stepchild's possessiveness of her father, resentment toward the husband for not prioritizing, exclusion, isolation, loneliness, self-doubt. She reminds the reader that we are not just stepmothers, we are human beings, with very real feelings that are the result often times of true events and occurrences.

I read this book for many reasons. I am a stepmother as well as a step-daughter, my children have stepmothers and my own mother was a stepmother. What I have learned in my personal experience is that being a stepmom is often thankless and ungratifying. Give-and-take precepts in this role are practically non-existent. Stepmothers are subject to the highest standards to provide unconditional love toward the stepchild--to be a chef, a maid, a laundress, a chauffeur, a tutor and a financial resource. The stepmother is a walking irony. Society expects that the stepmom respect the boundaries and feelings not only that of the stepchild, but her husband/the father, his ex-wife/the mother, the former in-laws, all the while without expecting reciprocity for her own exploited boundaries and feelings--Dr. Martin's term: self-abnegation. The stepmother is often the fall guy in the family system.
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