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on March 3, 2016
As the eldest of seven sisters, this book resonated with my own childhood and adult experiences. The author offers a summary of behavior patterns gleaned from extensive interviews with hundreds of female siblings, including twins and multi-generational groups. The conclusions the author draws about how female birth order shapes the way sisters relate, family dynamics, and the impact on life choices are well drawn and fascinating. The author offers excellent insights into how sisters relate; however, it is not a do-it-yourself manual to mend sibling relationships. It offers plenty of insight but does not attempt to provide solutions to problems. I wish the author had enlightened us more on the diversity of the group she interviewed because it left me wondering how that might influence the outcome of her interviews. If you have or are a sister, read this book.
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on August 17, 2009
This book helped me a LOT. I am the oldest of four sisters. Very enlightening. I enjoyed reading about my sisters' positions in our family. And, as the author states, nothing is in concrete...there are always exceptions. It helped me understand my own feelings about myself and my parents and my sisters. Every sister deserves a copy of this book.
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on November 19, 2013
This is not what I was looking for, but it offered some ideas for consideration. Written in a foksy kind of way.
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on November 28, 2012
To many examples. I expected something more practical. Matters with sisters have to be aproached very tactfully when rivalry is at its highest peak. Sorry, I did not find the answer I was lloking for.
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on April 17, 2013
The book was great and none of the pages were ripped, torn, had water damage, etc. However, when I took the book out of the package it was dirty and sticky.
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VINE VOICEon September 22, 2006
When I review a book, I usually have a copy right next to the computer, so I can refer to key passages and even quote a few lines. But this time I don't because I gave away my review copy right after I read it. I have a friend who's very close to her two sisters and I knew she'd enjoy reading this book. And I just ordered a gift copy to give a professional associate who's very close to her own sister.

That's the kind of book My Sister, My Self is: destined to keep circulating and (unless you're very careful) dog-eared and pencil-marked.

The theme of this book is, Your position as a sister will influence just about every area of your life - family, career, personality. What drew me into reading and re-reading is Stark's assertion that she can guess the birth order of a woman with only a few brief clues. Accountants (if I remember correctly) tend to be middle sisters.

And what amazed me is, she got my number! I am an older sister -- the bossy kind, not the caretaker type. And I fit her description quite accurately: totally independent and enjoy being in charge. I can't help noting how many older sisters tend to seek entrepreneurial careers and never really fit in as "team players."

I suspect most readers will do what I did: fast-forward to the chapters describing themselves. But I hope therapists and coaches will also enjoy reading this book because a lot of behavior that seems dysfunctional can be attributed directly to birth order. And from what Stark tells us, these influences go deep and can be hard to change.

Stark focuses solely on families with sisters, which means someone else has to write the book about sisters with brothers and only children. But Stark has been quite comprehensive, even including a large chapter about being a twin sister -- an experience far from my own.

What puts this book in the five-star category is Stark's willingness to discuss the dark side of sisterly relationships. Presumably, as a therapist, she's heard everything.

In particular, she recognizes that some women will experience the sisterly relationship as a drain on their energy with no rewards in sight. She's carefully non-judgmental. Perhaps because her study would attract women who care about their sisters, she offers few examples of sisters who "divorced" their relationship. Rather we hear a few quotes from women who don't want to give up, although the effort seems pointless. Frankly, I think many women will recognize themselves and feel reassured to fit into a category.

Sometimes a book leaves you wanting more because there's a gap in what's presented. Here I found myself wanting more because the book raised provocative questions. For example, what's too much: when does a sister get dragged down by ties that no longer deserve to be honored? When women don't have sisters in their lives, do they tend to seek out special friends or do they always have a sense of something missing? When sisters are spaced far apart (i.e., one is eight years older than the other), do they experience birth order relationships differently?

And while I respect a study of 400 women, I would find it instructive to talk about famous and literary examples of sisters. Author Lisa Scottoline, herself a twin, has explored the twin theme in her superb murder mysteries. In one best-seller, a well-known lawyer is stunned by the appearance of a strange woman -- a low-life claiming to be her missing twin sister. And in the WNBA, twins Cheryl and Coco Miller are now playing on separate teams, after playing together in high school and in an elite college program. They're both doing well.

In summary, I recommend reading this book before making your next gift list. It's the kind of book that (I suspect) many women will want to share. It's perfect for book clubs with a psychological edge -- the kind of book that makes you want to start a conversation.
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on December 24, 2011
Well I was so blessed with three myself, although our relationship has been a twisty turning one, we all love each other very much. This book is a must have for all of us with sisters (although I have close friends I call sister it just isn't the same!) I also recently reconnected with a couple sisters of an old boyfriend-we adored each other but it was a little awkward after the breakup-unlike my husband's sister who I never quite clicked with, we bonded immediately and deeply and I am so blessed to have both my amazing husband and now, my sister's in law from another brother! Hee hee. Anyway, everyone who has experienced the complexity and depth of a sister relationship should get this book. I feel so blessed by the depth and growth in our sibling relationship-and it is stronger and deeper than any other bond possible. Read this book if you have sisters! You will find yourself nodding along quite a bit.
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on June 26, 2007
They say mothers most affect us. Women are our caretakers. Those of us who have a sister know the power of this relationship, so instrumental is it to our development and sense of self. Vikki Stark details this relationship, its dynamics, societal expectations, and taboos, elevating it to near Oedipal dimensions.

Women are complex individuals, more so in relationships with other women. To be a women in a sibling relationship with a sister is to know this relationship's most powerful influence. Vikki Stark details the sister relationship in all its forms offering practical measures to negotiate the relationship with the intention of strengthening the bond. Yet she does not shy away from the difficulties and the possibility that, in some cases, the relationship may fail. She is a reasoned voice who clearly articulates the struggle.

Moreover, she does not judge. She validates, supports, and comforts, quite simply, because one can so easily identify with all she writes. She is the therapist who has lived your experience. She is a psychologist whose observations are near psychic.
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on June 27, 2007
This book is a must-read for anyone hoping to delve deeper into the intricate workings of the sister relationship. By speaking and engaging with numerous sets of sisters, Mrs. Vikki Starks thoroughly examines how a woman's childhood role as a sister has the remarkable power to influence and shape who she becomes later in life. As an identical twin, the topic of sisterhood has not only always fascinated me, but mystified me as well. There are so many complex emotions involved, such intense love, intimacy, and affection...and yet sometimes there is that simultaneous jealousy and resentment. This book was so refreshing to read because it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the fact that the sister dynamic is supposed to be messy and convoluted...that's what makes it so wonderful. As you read this book, you will laugh aloud with some of the cited sisters' happy memories, cry with some of the heartaches and struggles, smile to yourself as you relate (almost uncannily) to some of the stories, and most importantly, make you realize just how lucky you are to have a sister.
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on May 13, 2014
Grateful to read about other people's relationships with their sisters - helps to gain more perspective on one's own relationship(s).
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