Customer Reviews for

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters: 101 Unforgettable Stories about Our Nutty but Lovable Families

Average Rating 2.5
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  • Posted May 13, 2011

    Marginal

    Surprised I have to agree with the other reviews. Most of the essays in this volume just sounded like quickly hammered out cliche stories or full of empty platitudes. It was like reading one of those ongoing blogs written by a housewife with nothing to do all day; nothing of substance or enrichment, just a little thinking out loud. I can't believe that as competitive as the publishing industry is that these are the works that are getting onto shelves. About as amusing as bland mashed potatoes and gravy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2010

    startling, disappointing.

    My wife has been a frequent contributor to multiple inspirational anthologies including the Chicken Soup for the Soul "assembly line". We just finished reading this particular volume--at least what parts we could even get through and we're disappointed, to say the least. People who read these or give them as gifts are usually reaching out for something lighthearted and uplifting and while this one has a few passable essays, does not measure up to its predecessors. In fact, it's disturbing considering one's expectations when choosing it. Too many critical stories with lingering anger about exes and ex in laws are far from the Christian values my wife strives to malign her work with. Divorce may be commonplace in our culture but this no excuse for the complacency demonstrated toward its painful effects. Undoubtedly, there will be family member and former family members who recognize themselves in this unfortunate collection. The children of these families will be the most inadvertently pained and disappointed, no matter how much time passes, for the children never divorce the family.

    I would especially warn about the upsetting stories of the fates of some family pets. There's nothing entertaining about a child's pet being cooked for Easter dinner (and reported on with eerie glee) or a hamster smashed (purposefully) by a stepfather's fist no matter how it's spun. Very disappointed. We'll be praying before submitting to this series again. The editors seem to have sold out to a lower standard of what they deem comical or comforting and we are truly apologetic for having been a part of it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2010

    The Soup Has Gone Bad

    WARNING: DO NOT BUY. Shame on you Chicken Soup for the Soul founders. Messrs Canfield and Hansen. I picked up this book one evening during a break from my hectic Saturday night Christmas shopping outing. It had been a typical rushed evening, stalled traffic and long check out lines so I was in the mood for some light hearted stories and decided to pick up Family Matters. I was looking forward to settling down and reading this book after reviewing the following description from the creators: " With 101 stories of wacky yet lovable relatives, funny foibles, and holiday meltdowns along with more serious stories about abuse and outbursts, this book is usually hilarious and occasionally poignant." The book starts out true to its form and in line with the creators' 15 year record and welcome statement of: "Welcome to Chicken Soup for the Soul, a world leader in life improvement. We have been helping real people share real stories for fifteen years, bringing hope, courage, inspiration and love to hundreds of millions of people around the world. We hope our books and products touch your life in a similar way." I was however, stopped dead in my tracks when about halfway through the book I came across a story written by a woman about her former mother-in-law. The story not only lacked what usually are well worded thoughts and expressions from writers who submit to this series, but instead strayed from the intended message of "inspiration and love". This particular author's piece dulls the halo around the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. What started out as a truly unique genre of a homemade soup feel where each ingredient was chosen with purpose on it's quality and ability to enrich the entire recipe, has turned into a diluted substitute, and nobody likes substitutes. The original label of colors and scripted font is slowly being replaced by the dull, unappealing mask of generic mass production. Get it together, Jack Canfield: it's a slippery slope down the path of Readers Digest. The writer easily identifies herself by connecting her pseudonym to her blog where she further boasts about her writings of her former mother-in-law. After contacting the family of which she writes, I must also say, "shame on you, writer". In your quest for stardom, your vicious words have broken the heart and spirit of an almost 80 year old woman. When you choose to drastically distort the truth (especially of events over 20 years old), it only reveals a lack of substantial material worth attempting to morph into even the simplest of essay forms. What results is no more than the gooey, wasteful filler much like that spread on cheese one squeezes out of the cans similar to whipped cream. The gasps and tears of your children's grandmother were not the usual "feel good" tears that these books are known for creating, but truly from an appalling attack of name calling and public humiliation. I must say it again: Shame on you. Your "soul" is now in print forever. The carnage resulting from your "soul" cannot be explained, justified, or reversed. You cannot backpedal in this day of imprints and technology. The daunting task of explaining to your children your rationale for your devastating interpretation of their grandmother in a public forum and book for publication awaits you. Two thumbs down to my readers. pp Dirty laundry left hanging out eventually gets cleaned. Then it's nothing more than laundry hanging out. ~Mya Echsi

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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