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

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Readers will be amused, comforted, and encouraged by stories about “nutty” families just like their own, and realize we all have the same family matters and what really matters is families. A quirky and fun holiday book, and a great bridal shower or wedding gift!

Nearly everyone thinks their own family is “nutty" or at least has one or two nuts. With 101 stories of wacky yet lovable relatives, funny foibles, and holiday meltdowns, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters is ...

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

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Readers will be amused, comforted, and encouraged by stories about “nutty” families just like their own, and realize we all have the same family matters and what really matters is families. A quirky and fun holiday book, and a great bridal shower or wedding gift!

Nearly everyone thinks their own family is “nutty" or at least has one or two nuts. With 101 stories of wacky yet lovable relatives, funny foibles, and holiday meltdowns, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters is often hilarious and occasionally poignant.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Chicken Soup books never get old. With each new title (the series now numbers over two hundred titles), these collections of homegrown wisdom and humor prove that this bookstore-tested recipe works. The latest entry takes as its subjects men and women "of a certain age," making it a fine choice for Baby Boomers and their admirers.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935096559
  • Publisher: Chicken Soup for the Soul
  • Publication date: 10/19/2010
  • Series: Chicken Soup for the Soul Series
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 387,889
  • Product dimensions: 8.78 (w) x 11.80 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Canfield
Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen are co-founders of Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Amy Newmark is publisher and editor-in-chief of Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Susan M. Heim is a long-time editor of parenting and family-oriented books.


While Jack Canfield himself may not necessarily be a household name, it's very likely that you have heard of his famed Chicken Soup for the Soul series and nearly as likely that you have at least one of them sitting on your very own bookshelf! Having got his start as an inspirational speaker, Canfield's own story is nothing less than inspirational.

Jack Canfield had been traveling around delivering key note speeches and organizing workshops to help audiences build their self-esteem and maximize their potential when he had an in-flight brainstorm that changed his life. While flying home from a gig, Canfield realized that the very same advice he had been delivering during his in-person addresses could potentially form the basis of a book. Canfield used inspirational stories he'd gleaned over the years as the basis of his speeches, and he thought it would be a terrific idea to gather together 101 inspirational stories and anthologize them in a single volume. Upon returning home, Canfield approached friend and author Mark Victor Hansen about his concept. Hansen agreed it was a great idea, and the two men set about finding a publisher. Believe it or not, the mega-selling series was not an easy sell to publishers. "We were rejected by 123 publishers all told," Canfield told "The first time we went to New York, we visited with about a dozen publishers in a two day period with our agent, and nobody wanted it. They all said it was a stupid title, that nobody bought collections of short stories, that there was no edge -- no sex, no violence. Why would anyone read it?"

Canfield wisely practiced what he preached -- and persisted. Ultimately, he and Hansen sold the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book to a small press based in Deerfield Beach, Florida, called Health Communications. The rest, as they say, is history. There are currently 80 million copies of the Chicken Soup books in print, with subjects as varied as Chicken Soup For the Horse Lover's Soul and Chicken Soup For the Prisoner's Soul. Canfield and Hansen ranked as the top-selling authors of 1997 and are multiple New York Times bestsellers. Most important of all, the inspirational stories they have gathered in their many volumes have improved the lives of countless readers.

This year, expect to see Canfield's name gracing the covers of such titles as Chicken Soup For the Scrapbooker's Soul, Chicken Soup For the Mother and Son Soul, and Chicken Soup For the African American Woman's Soul. He and Hansen have also launched the all-new "Healthy Living" series and 8 titles in that series have already been released this year. There is also the fascinating You've GOT to Read This Book!, in which Canfield compiles personal accounts by 55 people each discussing a book that has changed his or her life. The most compelling of these may be the story of young entrepreneur Farrah Gray, who read Deepak Chopra's The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success at the age of 11 and made his first million dollars at the age of 14!

With no sign of slowing down, Canfield continues to be an inspiration to millions, who fortunately refused to give up when it seemed as though he would never even get his first book published. "Mark and I are big believers in perseverance," he said. "If you have a vision and a life purpose, and you believe in it, then you do not let external events tell you what is so. You follow your internal guidance and follow your bliss, as Joseph Campbell used to say."

Good To Know

Canfield is the founder of two California based self-esteem programs, "Self-Esteem Seminars" in Santa Barbara and "The Foundation For Self Esteem" in Culver City.

Writing the first Chicken Soup book was a lot more daunting than Canfield expected. After the first three years of research, he and Mark Victor Hansen had only compiled 68 stories -- 33 tales shy of their goal of 101 stories.

Along with co-writing dozens of full-length books, Canfield also publishes a free biweekly newsletter called Success Strategies.

Some fun and fascinating outtakes from our interview with Canfield:

"My inspiration for writing comes from my passion for teaching others how to live more effective lives. I started out as a history teacher in an all-black inner city high school in Chicago, graduated to a teacher trainer, then psychotherapist, then trainer of therapists, then large group transformational trainer and then a writer and keynote speaker. All along the way, my desire was to make a difference, to help people live more fulfilling lives. That is what I still do today. Most people don't know this but I was not a good writer in college. I got a C in composition. Nobody would have ever believed I would grow up to be a bestselling author."

"I play guitar, and I am learning to play the piano. I love movies and some TV shows. My favorites are Six Feet Under, Grey's Anatomy, House and Lost. I love to play Scrabble, poker and backgammon with my in-laws, nieces and nephews. We really get into it. I love to travel. I have been to 25 countries and try to add two or three new ones every year."

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    1. Hometown:
      Santa Barbara, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 19, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Fort Worth, Texas
    1. Education:
      B.A. in History, Harvard University, 1966; M.A.T. Program, University of Chicago, 1968; M.Ed., U. of Massachusetts, 1973
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 13, 2011


    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2012


    The soup is good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted January 3, 2013

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