The Accidental Bond; How Sibling Connections Influence Adult Relationships

Overview

Why do siblings raised in the same family environment often have wildly differing memories of childhood? How does birth order really affect life in the family? Why do siblings of the same gender tend to identify with different parents?

In this thoughtful and remarkable exploration of siblings of all varieties, journalist Susan Scarf Merrell brings to light some of the most painful, joyous, and confusing aspects of siblinghood as revealed in ...

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Accidental Bond

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Overview

Why do siblings raised in the same family environment often have wildly differing memories of childhood? How does birth order really affect life in the family? Why do siblings of the same gender tend to identify with different parents?

In this thoughtful and remarkable exploration of siblings of all varieties, journalist Susan Scarf Merrell brings to light some of the most painful, joyous, and confusing aspects of siblinghood as revealed in dozens of interviews.

No matter what kind of relationship we now have with our siblings--close or distant, loving or hostile--our histories with them exert a profound effect on our current relationships with lovers, friends, coworkers, even our own children. Utilizing the most current research and the work of psychologists, psychiatrists, and family experts, Merrell reminds us that sibling relationships are not just a blood tie, but a lifelong connection of infinite variety and fascination.

A compelling exploration of "accidentally bonded" brothers and sisters and how this relationship profoundly affects adult lives, this book raises tantalizing questions about how future loves, friendships, and relationships with co-workers are guided by past relationships with brothers and sisters.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Although both of these books are about sibling relationships, the similarity ends there. Foster, who teaches nonfiction writing at the University of Iowa, has pulled together 20 diverse essays from some of today's best-known female writers. Contributors to this volume include bell hooks, Robin Behn, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, and Joy Williams. The essays, while all centering on the themes of sisterly relationships, run the literary gamut. Fanciful fiction pieces are included, as are straightforward autobiographical anecdotes and a couple of critical essays. Any library with a demand for contemporary women's literature should have this collection. Merrell's book, on the other hand, is a journalist's psychoanalytic look at the dynamics of all sibling relationships. Based on in-depth interviews, this work tries to explain the hidden forces that bring siblings together and push them apart. The case studies showcase a variety of familial situations, including relationships between twins and half-siblings and the special bond between a special-needs brother and his caretaker sister. The book suffers from too many diversions; Merrell's long asides interrupt her narrative flow. Despite this organizational flaw, her book is a worthwhile addition to most public and undergraduate libraries because of the author's extensive and enlightening research.Pamela A. Matthews, Missouri Western State Coll., St. Joseph
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449911198
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/14/1997
  • Pages: 303
  • Sales rank: 942,097
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The Accidental Bond 3
2 Justine Arkady: "Edith Has Always Been There for Me" 19
3 Jack Morrison: A Brother Who Lives Alone 45
4 The Francis Twins: "We Were One Being Who Separated into Two" 66
5 Catherine Pantera Guerra: "I Always Saw Her As My Roots" 101
6 Richard Patch: "I Had Two Wonderful Families" 128
7 Laura and Sara Patch: "No Day Is Safe from News of You" 154
8 Ginger Farr: "If I See a Therapist, Am I Sick, Too?" 187
9 Rebecca, David, and Miriam Shulman: Acceptance Is the Key 213
10 Art, Hank, and Ron Mahoney: "We're Fundamental" 243
A Final Note: Accepting Our Siblings 273
Sources 281
Index 291
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