For Better or for Worse: A Candid Chronicle of Five Couples Facing Parenthood

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What really happens to marriage when children enter the picture? For Better, For Worse is a riveting chronicle af this common and often disconcerting experience. In an intimite narrative that penetrates the last sanctum of private life, Susan Squire follows five couples from the first surreal weeks of pregnancy through the end of the postpartum year. The couples range in age from their mid-twenties to their mid-forties. Although their backgrounds are diverse, their struggles and triumphs are emblematic of the ...
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Hardcover New 0385414757 1993 Doubleday; Cover: minor shelf & edge-wears, o/w excellent condition; Content: clean, tight & unmarked; Ships Quick.

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Overview

What really happens to marriage when children enter the picture? For Better, For Worse is a riveting chronicle af this common and often disconcerting experience. In an intimite narrative that penetrates the last sanctum of private life, Susan Squire follows five couples from the first surreal weeks of pregnancy through the end of the postpartum year. The couples range in age from their mid-twenties to their mid-forties. Although their backgrounds are diverse, their struggles and triumphs are emblematic of the juggling act that defines the state of contemporary middle-class parenthood. Through Squire's tenacious reporting and novelist's eye for detail, we come to know these men and women better than we know ourselves: the husband with a chronic distrust of doctors whose wife's pregnancy requires constant medical surveillance; the career woman who must battle with the guilty knowledge that while returning to work is the right choice for her, it may not be so for her infant; the anxiety of the successful, egotistical lawyer who, at forty-five, is forced to confront his mortality because of the baby growing in his wife's body; the stay-at-home mother of two, whose hardworking husband yearns to trade places - and frustrations - with her; the postpartum ambivalence about sex (which, surprisingly, affects the husbands as much as the wives)...Squire's evocative writing puts us squarely in the middle of the couples' fights and hopes and dreams as they adapt to their reconfigured lives. How do "family values" hold up in these stressful times, when father no longer knows best and mother is on the road? For Better, For Worse will take you on an eye-opening, suspenseful journey behind closed doors, and give you some unexpected answers along the way. This is journalism at its most readable and compassionate, a report from the front lines of late twentieth-century reality.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Parenthood undeniably reshapes a marriage, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Squire ( The Slender Balance ) here documents the changes experienced by five couples as they progress from the early stages of their pregnancies through the first postpartum year. While all live in the eastern U.S., the couples, whose identities are disguised, are diverse. Michael and Sarah, from rural New England are expecting their second child; Sam and Juliet live in New York City, where he is a well-known lawyer; Alex and Rob both have careers in sales, hers the more successful; Maria and Joe are Hispanic and adhere to traditional values, although both work outside the home; Erin and Tom are middle-class suburbanites from blue-collar Catholic families. In brief, present-tense entries, Squire provides glimpses into each couple's daily life as the pending or recent birth raises issues relating to religion, sex, career advancement, finances, the possibility of divorce and, in the case of two couples, premature and traumatic delivery. Although it often seems invasive, this account is immediate and compelling. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Squire takes a voyeuristic but insightful look into the lives of five middle-class couples who are experiencing life and marriage as it revolves around pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond. This is not a how-to handbook on pregnancy and childbirth or a guide to their effects, both good and bad, on real-life couples. Rather, this detailed but fascinating book examines the emotional, social, spiritual, physical, and sexual lifes of ten individuals over a two-year period. Noted pediatrician T. Terry Brazelton's Working and Caring ( LJ 11/1/85) also chronicles couples in transition from pregnancy to childbirth and the return to work, while offering his own insights and advice. In contrast, Squire merely reports the couples' journeys into parenthood, offering candid, often explicit narratives. Both books can provide valuable reading for parents-to-be and healthcare providers. Squire's book is recommended for public library collections.-- Angela Washington-Blair, Brookhaven Coll. Learning Resource Ctr., Farmers Branch, Tex.
Denise Perry Donavin
During her own pregnancy and early months of parenthood, Squire did all the obvious research (reading the works of Drs. Spock and Brazelton, Penelope Leach, etc.), but found something lacking. As she experienced each hurdle for herself she felt a need for a more personal voice. In response, she has assembled the private prenatal, birthing, and early parenting experiences of five very different couples to augment the technical and practical words of noted experts. Some may prefer the words of experts to these intimate revelations; others may benefit from knowing that other couples share similar problems.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385414753
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/1/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 400

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2001

    Finally, an honest account of the parenthood experience!

    I have read, re-read and practically memorized this book. I have owned it for 5 years and have taken it out to re-read it several times. The couples have become so familiar to me that I wonder now how they are faring, if their lives improved or worsened, if they had more children....I truly think of them often! The book is simply absorbing! It's as if you are a fly on the wall, observing every emotional outburst, argument and moments of tenderness and reconciliation. Witnessing the couples' struggles with their changing roles and relationship is much more insightful than any 'self-help' book about parenting. I applaud Ms. Squire and sincerely thank her for providing me with so much enjoyment and implore her to write a sequel!

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