Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do

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Overview

An honest and groundbreaking guide to understanding the complicated emotions that develop between stepmothers and children.

When faced with often overwhelming challenges, what woman with stepchildren is unfamiliar with that “stepmonster” feeling? Half of all women in the United States will live with or marry a man with children. To guide women new to this role—and empower those who are struggling with it—Wednesday Martin draws upon her own experience as a stepmother. She's frank...

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Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do

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Overview

An honest and groundbreaking guide to understanding the complicated emotions that develop between stepmothers and children.

When faced with often overwhelming challenges, what woman with stepchildren is unfamiliar with that “stepmonster” feeling? Half of all women in the United States will live with or marry a man with children. To guide women new to this role—and empower those who are struggling with it—Wednesday Martin draws upon her own experience as a stepmother. She's frank about the harrowing process of becoming a stepmother, she considers the myths and realities of being married to a man with children, and she counteracts the cultural notion that stepmothers are solely responsible for the problems that often develop. Along the way, she interviews other stepmothers and stepchildren and offers up fascinating insights from literature, anthropology, psychology, and evolutionary biology that explain the little-understood realities of this unique parent-child relationship and—in an unexpected twist—shows why the myth of the Wicked Stepmother is the single best tool for understanding who real stepmothers are and how they feel.

 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Fascinating... Informative and carefully researched." -Salon.com

"[Martin's] insights and advice are more clear and articulate than those offered in any other book on the subject that's currently available." -LA Examiner

"For women who find themselves in a similar family dynamic, Martin's book should come as a welcome relief, and proof that they are not alone." -Bust

Library Journal

Martin has written an eye-opening book about the world of stepfamilies, with a focus on the stepmother. Her well-researched work delves into the animal world, fairy tales, psychology, and sociobiology as she examines from every angle the myth that a well-blended, happy stepfamily is easy to achieve. Sometimes offering differing points of view, she describes examples from animal and bird families, demonstrating the great diversity throughout the animal kingdom and the behavior of many creatures in nonnuclear families. Many animals are not leading the life portrayed in The Brady Bunch any more than the people with whom Martin talked. While the author admits that there are some families who manage to work well, she was reassured in her own role as stepmother that the frustrations she has experienced are not at all uncommon. Stepmothers, no matter how hard they try, are battling odds that appear to be stacked against them. Martin's questions about the normality of her experience will help validate those who find themselves in a similar situation. [See Prepub Alert, LJ1/09.]
—Margaret Cardwell

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618758197
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/4/2009
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 124,642
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

WEDNESDAY MARTIN holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Yale. She was a regular contributor to the New York Post's parenting page for several years, and her work has appeared in a number of national magazines. Martin, a stepmother for nine years, lives with her husband and their two sons. www.wednesdaymartin.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

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(10)

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 16, 2009

    Not Your Typical Stepmothering Book

    I'm not part of a stepfamily but a friend gave me an advanced reading copy of Stepmonster. I couldn't stop reading, because everything the author reveals about stepfamily life was so fascinating! Before I read this book, I was a person who would have said all my sympathies are with the stepchildren, no matter how they might act toward their stepmother, because they're children after all. Now I have a totally different take on the issue, because the book so forcefully and convincingly advocates for stepmothers and shows what a toll it takes on them when everyone in the stepfamily--and everyone in society--holds them accountable for the outcome. This book is really something different if it can draw me in. I loved the chapter on stepmothering in other cultures, and all the historical research as well. This is NOT your typical stepmothering book--it's much deeper and has something for everyone.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    Other than one chapter devoted to scholarly interpretation, this is such a helpful book. It is well-written, explaining the dynamics, limitations, and boundaries in blended families. It put into words all I'd been experiencing but could not articulate.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2009

    Down to earth!!!Simply the truth!!!

    ..this book is a home run!!! a hole in one!!!it is so real!!!I'm a stepmom and I felt like the author knows me and know what I am experiencing right now!!!She really delivers the right message about stepmothering. I strongly recomend this book to all the stepfamilies, specially to the stepmothers who maybe feel they're alone, because of all the judging towards us; guess what? we're not alone! I don't like to read a lot , but this book, it took me just 2 days to read it all!!!!...You will discover really why we are like we are and will not feel bad or guilty about it!!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2014

    Inspiration and Hope

    I had been searching for a book on stepmothering something I could relate to, that would inspire courage, hope, maybe even validate, something that could explain the dynamics and I found it in Stepmonster. I would recommend this read to every remarried man and woman, those thinking about marrying with children, every stepchild, and to those who have ever passed judgement on a stepmother. It gives a real life perspective of the most thankless and selfless job on earth, a step-mother. Stepmonster is refreshing for the stepmothers soul! Thank you Wednesday Martin

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2012

    Very insightful. Helped me to understand the realities of a stepmother's situation and not feel so alone and wrong!

    A must read for any stepmother... or anyone who is considering becoming one!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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