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The 19 families profiled in this absorbing book face a familiar litany of domestic dysfunction: infidelities, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, messy divorces and the intergenerational estrangement of immigrants. Novelist and social documentarian Bronson (What Should I Do with My Life?) finds the solutions to their dilemmas in the good old-fashioned elements of character and action, as people take stock of themselves and their motivations and painstakingly piece together their relationships and lives. Bronson's is an unromantic view of family life; its foundations, he believes, are not soul-mate bonding or dramatic emotional catharses, but steady habits of hard work and compromise, realistic expectations and the occasional willingness to sever a relationship that's beyond repair. But he also has an optimistic view of today's crazy-quilt of blended and unconventional families, reassuring commitment-shy young adults that "the golden era of family is not in our past, it's in our future." Bronson occasionally lapses into shallow pop psychology, as when he chalks up one husband's philandering to the oxytocin "high" caused by sex with someone new. But usually he offers a probing, clear-eyed, hopeful narrative of familial problems that many readers will recognize. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Bronson interviewed 700 people, 19 of whom are chronicled here. His book is "about decoding the mystery of family life." The stories center on men and women who lead satisfying lives with their families despite destructive childhoods, people who overcome their impulses to repeat what was inflicted upon them, and those who heal in their own particular way, not conforming to any fashion. There are some relationships rescued from the brink and some people whose lives improved after a much-needed divorce or break from their parents. Some couples created compromises by which both get their needs met and contribute equally to the family culture. Others take responsibility for the rest of their lives and no longer let themselves be victims of their experiences. The author examines such subjects as divorce, death, illness, money, prejudice, and abuse. The author of What Should I Do with My Life? (2002) posits that to give and receive love during hard times, it helps to have been shown how beforehand. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Love this book. I went out of my way to find and replace the original one that I had lost. Happy with my replacement book. Love the book Nuture Shock as well.Published 18 months ago by seasea
Excellent survival book because the stories inspire readers to keep trying! Entertaining and insightful in its selection of family stories that span America and reflect the tough... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Alicia C. Jimenez
An absolutely fantastic book about families and human nature. The stories are captivating. Po Bronson is an excellent storyteller. Read morePublished on October 5, 2013 by Cindy A Christensen
This is not a psychology book or a self-help book. These are real stories from people whose relationships with their family brought them a lot of pain and how they lived/are... Read morePublished on April 14, 2013 by Linda Gaddy
Gives me hope!
This book gives a sincere, inside look at families across the continents. Dysfunctional as these families may be, overcoming and becoming stronger is the focus... Read more
I love his writing style and I love his insights. I actually devour things that he writes and look forward to more.Published on February 11, 2013 by JB
This book only cost 1 cent. It came in the condition that it was listed as-good. It came on time. I am very happy with my purchase.Published on February 11, 2011 by student
Brilliant book! I couldn't put this down. Highly recommended to anyone who is or has had a fragmented relationship with family - you are not alone. Read morePublished on February 6, 2011 by Grace
I found this at a used bookstore and it looked interesting, so I bought it. I am glad I didn't pay full price because I found it to be a disappointing approach to a deeply... Read morePublished on March 22, 2010 by Jane G.