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Parentless Parents: How the Loss of Our Mothers and Fathers Impacts the Way We Raise Our Children Hardcover – February 15, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Gilbert, a HuffPost journalist and author of Always Too Soon, shares her own story, and those of others, who are raising children without the support and guidance of their own mothers and fathers. Both of Gilbert's parents had died as she reached her 30s, and not only did she ache from their absence, she also admitted to being envious, lonely, and unsure of her ability to be a good mother to her two children, despite the involvement of a loving spouse, in-laws, stepparents, and friends. Deciding to explore her situation in an effort to feel less alone, she started a support group, started a blog called "Keeping Their Memory Alive" and developed an action plan to fill the grandparent gap. While she argues there is no real way to compensate for this primal loss, her book offers some down-to-earth advice for getting on track as a parent, shedding the fear of dying young, talking to children about death, and assuming the responsibility of building a solid family relationship. (Feb.)
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"Allison Gilbert offers an invaluable resource to anyone trying to find greater happiness as a parentless parent. By deftly exploring this difficult issue with uncommon sensitivity, insight, and just-right humor, Allison shows us how loss often has the unrivaled power to create a deeper appreciation of life and family."―Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project
"An important look at how the lack of grandparents affects families. Parentless parents know this, deeply. Now everyone else can, too."―Hope Edelman, New York Times Bestselling author of Motherless Daughters and Motherless Mothers
"This book on an unaddressed subject fills the need with empathy and hope."―Library Journal
Top customer reviews
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Based on the quality of content the price is too high for a digital copy. This was an impulse purchase.
This book should be titled:
ME, ME, ME... Poor ME... What About ME!?! (And my dad is the most awesome parent/human/mammal EVAH!)
OK- kidding aside...
I did like that I could identify with a few experiences she mentioned that parentless parents deal with:
The pain and grief that new Rites of Passage can bring on at ANY age and stage that parents that have not lost their parents (to death OR estrangement) really can not comprehend.
How sharing kid joys/successes with peers may come across as bragging or being competitive. However, it is important to pick your friends wisely. Supportive and nurturing friends are key...
The constant struggle to keep your parents relevant to your kids when you only have your in-laws (who may or may not like you and may/may not be supportive of your heritage) comparing your offspring to them because it is familiar while being oblivious to your feelings. Regarding the author, it appears her in-laws do like her and I think that is always a positive for a parentless parent.
Some of the research statistics were interesting but as the author states, there is not much research on our particular demographic.
While I am sure we can all empathize with some of her experience the book is more of a personal account rather than a resource for support or insight. The author does whine, as others have pointed out, for most of the book. I tried to find a more kind adjective but no-it is clearly whining. An author can relate to readers without the whining.
Certain passages come across as contrived or even fabricated because they are written so poorly. There are passages where it is obvious she has personal issues of contention with certain family members/people. We now know which parent she favored and worshiped. I found myself cringing throughout the book.
Ms. Gilbert we all WORK. Whether we are home with the children working or out and about-we all WORK.
I felt her emphasis on that aspect of difference between her and her sister-in-law was pretty tacky. She also makes her issue with SAH parents a pretty obvious issue at certain other points to where it became rather obnoxious and a real detraction from any positive content. She made sure to place extra emphasis on whether or not a parent worked outside the home by stating the parent was a "working" parent by using italics- WOW that is just tacky and telling on what she thinks of SAH parents.
I would venture to guess that there are some of us that sacrifice to sah/wah so we may spend as much time with our families because we know life is short- ya know- because of our losses- the whole reason for the book called "Parentless Parents". These are personal choices for every parent. Yes, having a choice is a privilege but it does not make the job any easier- just different.
This book should have been less about Allison Gilbert and more about all those participants she supposedly interviewed. The content was more anecdotal than helpful. A good resource does a better job of straddling that line where a foundation of social or academic research is provided and personal narratives are given to make it relevant to an audience. A helpful book serves to illustrate the human experience and how others have managed their hardship while providing relevant points of reference for readers to utilize in their journey of personal growth. We all have our reasons for searching out this content and my assumption is that the reasons are not limited to commiseration. I can do that on the internet for free. I regret not reading the reviews.
While Gilbert attempted to write for both genders this book was still dominated by women's voices and POVs. Being a mother it did not bother me too much but it really didn't support the title.
You know who does a great job with this topic? Hope Edelman. She has set the bar that others should follow. Go check out her books!
I'd recommend this for anyone who is parenting without their parents be they deceased, out of town or just out of touch. It's a really good read for folks who have their parents around as well.