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You Were Always Mom's Favorite!: Sisters in Conversation Throughout Their Lives Paperback – September 7, 2010
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2016 Book Awards
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“Siblings will jump on this book to read about pigeonholing . . . power dynamics . . . and the coded messages, fond or furious, that only the person who knows you best will understand.”
—O: The Oprah Magazine
“If you have a sister, you will probably recognize every detail and laugh or cry.”
—The Daily Beast
“Tannen’s very talented ear allows her to see inside our most intense relationships using the windows of our words.”
“Love/hate doesn’t begin to describe the elation and heartbreak, the humor and perplexed contradictions revealed in this delightful book when sisters speak of and to each other.”
—The Philadelphia Inquirer
About the Author
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
It's an interesting slice since, as Tannen writes, "A sister is like yourself in a different movie, a movie that stars you in a different life." She posits that these lives revolve around a subset of sibling rivalry where sisters connect and compete in attempts to align themselves for parental love. She supports that not through strictly scientific data but rather social anecdotes -- examples pulled from literature, pop culture, and her own interviews. It's notable that I've recently read two other books that incorporate "everyman" quotes; they were clumsy in insertion and vacuous in content and frankly spoiled the works. But here, Tannen knows expertly when to summarize someone's comments, and when instead to roll seamlessly into a spot-on and memorable quote.
A couple quibbles. First, contrary to the subtitle, this book is not much about conversation. Rather, it's primarily about psychology and exploring the underlying family roles and dynamics that sometimes bubble up into verbal and nonverbal communications.
Second, Tannen leaves no stone unturned, no shade of gray unexamined. At one point, she refers to the 17 single-spaced pages of research notes she'd accumulated for one topic; I think she included every one of them in this book -- first via a complete, fully formed example, then appended with a summarizing paragraph.Read more ›
I recommend this for anyone who wants support in trying to negotiate this minefield.
Most helpfully, Tannen addresses why sisters compete. She gives parents tips about how to minimize sisters' rivalry and adult sisters advice about how not to get riled up about old childhood baggage.
All those family interrelationships made this book a particular standout among my Amazon Vine choices. Deborah Tannen is famous for exploring so many other relationships, especially regarding gender. Could she spread some enlightenment here, I wondered?
Tannen interviewed hundreds of women with sisters. And by telling stories, LOTS of stories, she identifies the ways in which our "sisterness" affects us, for good or for ill. Some of the conclusions start out seeming obvious, such as the Oldest Sister so often being called upon to protect and take care of the younger children... except Tannen follows the role into adulthood, and shares how that experience shaped both the oldest sister and the younger ones too. She highlights how the relationships between brothers is like AND unlike sisters' relationships; for instance, men are more likely to say that they and their brothers are "just like" each other, while women generally define themselves by their perceived differences ("I'm the smart one and she's the pretty one" or "I'm tall and she's short") -- and then she passes along stories from her interviews about how those perceptions create opportunities and traps.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love this book, this author is great! If you have a sister, you need to read this book.Published 6 months ago by BETH H.
Great insights into what make sisters tick. My sister and I are enjoying going through each chapter and comparing notes about what it was like to be an older and a younger sister.Published 19 months ago by Barbara Langdorf
helped me better understand myself and my sister and our relationship. and why it is the way it is.Published 19 months ago by Kathy
Although the title is snappy, unless you are studying psychology or trying to figure out why you and your sister fight all the time, this is a slog. Read morePublished on May 26, 2014 by elaineintokyo
I had read this several years ago and it helped me so much understand the dynamics of conversations between my sister and myself. Read morePublished on May 6, 2014 by B. Brown
The physical book is what I expected and am satisfied. The content is weak and not what I had hoped from Tannen -- seems like she is coasting on early work. Read morePublished on April 21, 2014 by Zelda
Book Came within estimated Period!!! Book was really affordable (ESPECIALLY for a struggling COLLEGE STUDENT) !!!!!!!!!!!! Book was in Great condition!!!!!! . . . Read morePublished on October 4, 2013 by Eddit Lugo
I have enjoyed Tannen's insights into interpersonal communication in two of her earlier books. But this one seemed tedious at times, the generalizations being too qualified and the... Read morePublished on August 27, 2013 by Richard Zeile