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The Shelter of Each Other Hardcover – April 16, 1996

4.5 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As she tells stories of families?her own and others'?therapist Pipher (Reviving Ophelia) focuses on small victories in what she calls "the current family-hurting culture." Distancing herself from therapies that pathologize families, Pipher claims to have experienced the power of hope that can be stimulated through carefully chosen family stories. In even the most dysfunctional families, she discerns threads of connectedness that have led to empowerment of her clients as they became more capable of handling their own lives. Pipher recommends an empathetic approach to families' efforts to survive in a difficult era, one that parallels the homesteading years of her grandparents earlier in this century. She offers plain and practical talk for beleaguered parents and the families they are trying to protect. 125,000 first printing; $100,000 promo; first serial to Good Housekeeping; author tour; BOMC main selection.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Psychologist Pipher, the best-selling author of Reviving Ophelia (LJ 4/1/94), once again looks at American culture to explain our problems. This time, she explores the family and what today's antifamily culture is doing to it. She argues that by glamorizing sex, drugs, and violence and regarding children as consumers, our socity teaches children inappropriate values. She condemns institutions that glorify independence to adolescents who desperately need adult guidance and teach neighbor to fear neighbor. In short, she believes our culture is tearing apart the fabric of the American family and community. Pipher also criticizes therapists who blame bad parenting for children's problems rather than looking at the whole picture of culture. Yet she also offers hope by demonstrating ways of strengthening communities and bringing families closer together, using real-life success stories. This is a book that every library should own and every person should read.?Elizabeth Caulfield Felt, Washington State Univ. Lib., Pullman
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (April 16, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399141448
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399141447
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,174,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I heard Mary speak in Calgary last year. The thousands of us who were there were riveted. As a high school teacher who is on the "front lines" witnessing the disenfranchisement of our youth, her book holds hope for everyone--if only everyone could read it. I recommend all her books--but this is less clinical than Reviving Ophelia. After hearing her speak, and reading the book, I have continued to make positive changes in my home. I am a single parent, but we have numerous traditions that I know my kids will cherish when they are older! This should be another one of those books we send home with the baby from the hospital!
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Format: Paperback
Mary Pipher has an influence of native American culture. Her concept is one of individuals being strengthened by forming increased connections with family and community. Her illustrations help solidify the concepts. Some of her suggestions near the end of the book are somewhat ideal but excellent to strive for. Her writing style makes it hard to put the book down. You feel comfortable, growing to feel "connected" with her by the time you finish the last page. What she says is true: Families are valuable; we need each other; there is much richness in our society and community.
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By A Customer on May 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
An honest appraisal of the pressures on families, including the ways in which Pipher's own profession has contributed to the devaluation of family ties. Pipher is not strident, but she is very clear on the flaws of our culture as well as the consequences of choices we make in what we value and how we spend our time . She doesn't blame parents for everything. She gives many examples of the way in which outside pressures and the lack of a supporting culture can tear families apart. She offers principles and practical guidelines to help families bond and shelter each other while still giving each other room to grow. A far more hopeful book than "Reviving Ophelia".
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Format: Paperback
This is a positive, though realistic, look at American families and the challenges they face in contemporary culture. Pipher dicusses common problems that modern families face in the electronic age when each family member may spend more time interacting with computers and VCR's than with each other. She also addresses current societal problems for teenagers such as drugs, sex, and violence in their schools and communities. Looking back through generations in her own family, the author reminds us of the strengths of families in the past and suggests what we can learn from their experiences. Using cases from her practice, she illustrates common challenges faced by families and shows us how these families, with determination and commitment, can solve their problems and become stronger.
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Format: Paperback
I picked up this book after reading the equally important "Reviving Ophelia." "The Shelter of Each Other" is an important guidebook on how to get your family back from the clutches of American junk media, job stress and day care. This book is ungently needed by any parent with factory farmed kids who spend their days with nannies, in day care, and in front of the tube watching garbage videos. But it is equally useful to involved parents who want to be one step ahead of the corrupting and damaging influences of life in America today. Read it and heal.
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Format: Paperback
In her 1996 work, Dr. Pipher decries what cultural conservatives like myself have known for at least 25+ years, and that is our popular culture is at war with the family. Because of our desire to be "open" and not repressed about sex and sexuality, because we don't want to do anything that would have a "chilling effect" on free speech, and because advertising has mercilessly and shamelessly propagated the religon of consumerism, while pop-psychology makes converts to a humanist, man-centered existentialism that places the emphasis on "self-esteem" over responsibility, this is why we have the rot we see today.
Dr. Pipher was right on the mark in her observation that people develop "relationships" with media figures, to the detriment of themselves and society. One only has to look at the circulation figures for magazines like "People," "The National Enquirer," and the other tabloids for proof. People talk about the stars of WWF as if they have known them all their lives; the latest celebrity gossip vies with actual news stories on the evening news for headline coverage. Because of our inate desire to belong and to fellowship, we crave human contact. Yet we live in a culture where most of us don't even know who our next door neighbors are.
A lot of the criticism of Dr. Pipher's book on this site has been picayune and childish. You don't need to be a cultural anthropoligist, or have an advanced degree in family therapy to recognize that our society is in trouble. The American Family is in the crosshairs, under relentless assault.
Dr. Mary Pipher is to be highly commended for this book, which like her earlier work "Reviving Ophelia" correctly takes aim at our popular culture for its contribution to the destruction of decency in our society.
This book would benefit all families. Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
Dr Pipher focuses on families' strengths and resources, and refuses to label them "dysfunctional." Often, we simply need to rethink our use of time and technology. For me, reading this book was like taking a deep, calming breath and seeing my precious family in a new light.
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