My Father Married Your Mother: Writers Talk about Stepparents, Stepchildren, and Everyone in Between

My Father Married Your Mother: Writers Talk about Stepparents, Stepchildren, and Everyone in Between

by Anne Burt, Anne Burt
     
 

Eye-opening essays by esteemed writers about the rich and complicated lives of American stepfamilies: with the U.S. divorce rate hovering around 50 percent, most people recognize remarriage as a now-familiar occurrence. And remarriage often means stepfathers, -mothers, -brothers, and -sisters, and the formation of a new type of blended family.
Jacquelyn

Overview

Eye-opening essays by esteemed writers about the rich and complicated lives of American stepfamilies: with the U.S. divorce rate hovering around 50 percent, most people recognize remarriage as a now-familiar occurrence. And remarriage often means stepfathers, -mothers, -brothers, and -sisters, and the formation of a new type of blended family.
Jacquelyn Mitchard, Barbara Kingsolver, Roxana Robinson, Susan Cheever, and others share experiences of being stepdaughters, stepmothers, or ex-wives. Andrew Solomon writes about his relationship with his stepmother. Kate Christensen celebrates the stepfather who brought guidance to her life. There are essays from writers in the same family, each with a different take on his or her postnuclear situation: Phyllis Rose discusses her second husband's qualities as a stepfather, while her son, Ted Rose, writes about his tumultuous relationship with his stepbrother from his own father's remarriage. These poignant, heartfelt, sometimes biting tales remind us of the outdated myth of the perfect nuclear family while shedding light on what it means to forge relationships with stepfamily members.

Editorial Reviews

Elle
“Eloquent, often deeply moving testimonials to the trials and rewards, the unanticipated emotions and unexpected self-discoveries that may await steppeople....An unmistakable, unapologetic warts-and-all rebuke to the lecturing legions of busybody marriage fetishists and anti-divorce activists: Step happens.”
Publishers Weekly
In an era of blended families, each group of stepparents, ex-spouses and newly mixed stepsiblings is unhappy in its own way, and Burt's collection of essays illuminates this brilliantly. Although feelings of anger, frustration and anxiety run throughout each piece, the writers also show the nuances specific to their familial tangles. The contributors constitute an impressive range of talent, from novelists Susan Cheever and Jacquelyn Mitchard to journalists Candy Cooper and Ted Rose. Also notable as writers are Lisa Shea, Andrew Solomon and actor Mike Dolan. The stories they tell are also broad, from happily sitting next to an ex-wife at a kid's football game to feeling torn between birth parents and struggling stepparents. One of the collection's most poignant essays comes from Barbara Kingsolver, who muses not on her particular post-divorce blend but on the way families are perceived and measured, often unfairly. "To judge a family's value by its tidy symmetry is to purchase a book for its cover," she writes. "There's no moral authority here." Without that symmetry, there are arguments, bad decisions, hurt feelings and an occasional, well-deserved triumph. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The notion of a Leave It to Beaver family, if one ever really existed, is a thing of the past. In reality, the very definition of the word family is in a constant state of flux. The divorce rate in the United States hovers at around 50 percent, remarriages abound, and stepparents and stepsiblings are common. This anthology edited by Burt (arts & culture writer, Columbia Univ. Public Affairs office) is an enticing look at blended families from the perspectives of 27 writers, including Jacquelyn Mitchard, Steve Romagnoli, Susan Cheever, Andrew Solomon, and Barbara Kingsolver, each of whom has experienced some version of blended family life. Kingsolver muses on how her divorce changed her ideals of what a family ought to be. Mitchard contributes a heart-wrenching essay about her rocky relationship with her stepdaughter with which many readers will undoubtedly identify. Both essays are representative of the deep feelings that run throughout the collection. Certain to stir discussion and deserving of a wide readership, this book reveals the human side of the ever-changing idea of family. Highly recommended for all collections.-Ron Ratliff, Kansas State Univ. Lib., Manhattan Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393060881
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
05/01/2006
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Anne Burt's writing has appeared in publications including Salon and Parenting. She was awarded Meridian Literary Magazine's 2002 Editors Prize in fiction. She lives with her husband, daughter, and stepdaughter in Montclair, New Jersey.

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