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My Father Married Your Mother: Dispatches from the Blended Family Paperback – May 17, 2007
From Publishers Weekly
In an era of blended families, each group of stepparents, ex-spouses and newly mixed stepsiblings is unhappy in its own way, and Burt's collection of essays illuminates this brilliantly. Although feelings of anger, frustration and anxiety run throughout each piece, the writers also show the nuances specific to their familial tangles. The contributors constitute an impressive range of talent, from novelists Susan Cheever and Jacquelyn Mitchard to journalists Candy Cooper and Ted Rose. Also notable as writers are Lisa Shea, Andrew Solomon and actor Mike Dolan. The stories they tell are also broad, from happily sitting next to an ex-wife at a kid's football game to feeling torn between birth parents and struggling stepparents. One of the collection's most poignant essays comes from Barbara Kingsolver, who muses not on her particular post-divorce blend but on the way families are perceived and measured, often unfairly. "To judge a family's value by its tidy symmetry is to purchase a book for its cover," she writes. "There's no moral authority here." Without that symmetry, there are arguments, bad decisions, hurt feelings and an occasional, well-deserved triumph. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Eloquent, often deeply moving testimonials to the trials and rewards, the unanticipated emotions and unexpected self-discoveries that may await steppeople....An unmistakable, unapologetic warts-and-all rebuke to the lecturing legions of busybody marriage fetishists and anti-divorce activists: Step happens.”
“Enticing....Certain to stir discussion and deserving of a wide readership, this book reveals the human side of the ever-changing idea of family.”
- Library Journal
Top customer reviews
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Every time I finished an essay I couldn't help myself from plunging immediately into the next, reading the chapters in exactly the order assembled (after checking out the work of the writers about which I was most curious). This is SUCH a good book! I kept putting stars in the margins and thinking, Oh I want to copy that into my notebook -- because what's illuminated is the "ordinary" family, too. The first essay (by Dana Kinstler) made me think about the roles of daughters and fathers, and then in Phyllis Rose's I was thinking about whether my own father had provided enough strength and direction for me to feel secure (apparently not) and Sasha Troyan's lovely and droll and funny piece made me think about how people look while they are falling in love, and Andrew Solomon's made me marvel about the sort of people able to get a tremendous amount done, and the nature of parental love, and a thousand other things. I ADORED the quirky, funny, touching essays by D. S. Sulaitis (who I'd never heard of; now I'm dying to read more by her) and Sandra Tsing Loh, and the haunging one by Alice Elliott Dark, and the heartbreaking one by Jacquelyn Mitchard -- but all of them taught me something. I found this to be such a useful, smart, absorbing book. It provides stories that give insight into one's own life (which is what I for one really want stories to do). Actually, this book did feel like good gossip - but the kind that illuminates your own life.
After reading people's experiences in this book of families trying to merge with varying success, I was able to better reflect on my own family. This book helped me get my fathers pain all these years. All stemming from choices made by a step mother who chose not to adopt.