Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage / Edition 1

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Overview


"This is the most important study ever written on motherhood and marriage among low-income urban women. Edin and Kefalas's timely, engaging, and well-written book is a careful ethnographic study that paints an indelible portrait of family life in poor communities and, in the process, provides incredible insights on the explosion of mother-only families within these communities."—William Julius Wilson, author of The Bridge over the Racial Divide

"This book provides the most insightful and comprehensive account I have read of the reasons why many low-income women postpone marriage but don't postpone childbearing. Edin and Kefalas do an excellent job of illuminating the changing meaning of marriage in American society."—Andrew Cherlin, author of Public and Private Families

“Edin and Kefalas provide an original and convincing argument for why low-income women continue to embrace motherhood while postponing and raising the bar on marriage. This book is a must read for students of the family as well as for policy makers and practitioners who hope to rebuild marriage in low-income communities.”—Sara McLanahan, author of Growing Up with a Single Parent

"Promises I Can Keep is the best kind of exploration: honest, incisive and ever-so-original. It'll make you squirm, and that's a good thing, especially since Edin and Kefalas try to make sense of the biggest demographic shift in the last half century. This is a must read for anyone interested in the tangled intersection of family and public policy."—Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Seeking to identify the forces behind the trend for young (and often impoverished) women to become (and remain) unmarried mothers, sociologists Edin (Univ. of Pennsylvania) and Kefalas (St. Joseph's Univ.) interviewed some 162 low-income residents in poor urban areas of Philadelphia and Camden, NJ. In their cogent and persuasive explanation of this lifestyle, they focus on four young women-Deena, Dominique, Mahkiya, and Jen-who, when they became pregnant, chose motherhood without marriage over abortion or adoption. Despite being young and poor, these women believe that caring for their children has added meaning to their otherwise diminished lives. The women relate personal stories and decisions that reflect factors in the changing role of women since the 1950s: a redefinition of marriage, the sexual revolution, and growing acceptance of cohabitation, all in a world of increasing inequalities in income and wealth. These women may struggle on the lower rung, but they remain firmly committed single parents. This thought-provoking book is highly recommended for academics, professionals, and public libraries.-Suzanne W. Wood, formerly with SUNY Coll. of Technology at Alfred Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

"A seminal book."--Time Magazine
Time Magazine

“A seminal book.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520241138
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 3/8/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author


Kathryn Edin is Associate Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University and coauthor of Making Ends Meet (1997). Maria Kefalas is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. She is the author of Working-Class Heroes (California, 2003).
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Table of Contents


Introduction

1. “Before We Had a Baby . . .”
2. “When I Got Pregnant . . .”
3. How Does the Dream Die?
4. What Marriage Means
5. Labor of Love
6. How Motherhood Changed My Life
Conclusion: Making Sense of Single Motherhood

Acknowledgments
Appendix A: City, Neighborhood, and Family Characteristics and Research Methods
Appendix B: Interview Guide
Notes
References
Index

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2005

    Are you kidding me????????????

    I know one of the woman you wrote about and she did not put motherhood before marriage. They both do hard core drugs and they chose that over their children. They gave up their rights and a great grandparent is taking care of these wonderful children. I see them when I can and I am not a relative. They are lucky to have extended family.

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