The Shelter of Each Other


“Simple solutions for survival in this family-unfriendly culture…Eye-opening…heart-wrenching and uplifting.”—San FranciscoChronicle 

Even more resonant today than at its original publication twelve years ago, The Shelter of Each Other traces the effects of our society’s “anti-family” way of life, where parents are overtaxed, children are undersupervised, and technology is rapidly dictating how we interact. As she did in her number-one bestseller Reviving Ophelia, Mary ...

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“Simple solutions for survival in this family-unfriendly culture…Eye-opening…heart-wrenching and uplifting.”—San FranciscoChronicle 

Even more resonant today than at its original publication twelve years ago, The Shelter of Each Other traces the effects of our society’s “anti-family” way of life, where parents are overtaxed, children are undersupervised, and technology is rapidly dictating how we interact. As she did in her number-one bestseller Reviving Ophelia, Mary Pipher illuminates how our families are suffering at the hands of shifting cultural norms, and she snaps our gave into crisp focus. Drawing on the fascinating stories of families rich and poor, angry and despairing, religious and skeptical, and probing deep into her own family memories and experiences, Pipher clears a path to the strength and energy at the core of family life. Compassionate and heart-wrenching, The Shelter of Each Other is an impassioned call for us to gather our families in our arms and hold on to them for dear life.  

Families, the bedrock of our society and culture, are today under assault from every side. Parents, struggling under their own pressures and unmet needs, don't know how to protect their children from crime, poverty, abuse, and media violence. In The Shelter of Each Other, the author of Reviving Ophelia wisely and compassionately challenges readers to find the courage to nurture and revivify the families they cherish. 304 pp. Author tour. Major media publicity. 100,000 print. (Psychology)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As she tells stories of families-her own and others'-therapist Pipher (Reviving Ophelia) focuses on small victories in what she calls "the current family-hurting culture." Distancing herself from therapies that pathologize families, Pipher claims to have experienced the power of hope that can be stimulated through carefully chosen family stories. In even the most dysfunctional families, she discerns threads of connectedness that have led to empowerment of her clients as they became more capable of handling their own lives. Pipher recommends an empathetic approach to families' efforts to survive in a difficult era, one that parallels the homesteading years of her grandparents earlier in this century. She offers plain and practical talk for beleaguered parents and the families they are trying to protect. 125,000 first printing; $100,000 promo; first serial to Good Housekeeping; author tour; BOMC main selection. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Psychologist Pipher, the best-selling author of Reviving Ophelia (LJ 4/1/94), once again looks at American culture to explain our problems. This time, she explores the family and what today's antifamily culture is doing to it. She argues that by glamorizing sex, drugs, and violence and regarding children as consumers, our socity teaches children inappropriate values. She condemns institutions that glorify independence to adolescents who desperately need adult guidance and teach neighbor to fear neighbor. In short, she believes our culture is tearing apart the fabric of the American family and community. Pipher also criticizes therapists who blame bad parenting for children's problems rather than looking at the whole picture of culture. Yet she also offers hope by demonstrating ways of strengthening communities and bringing families closer together, using real-life success stories. This is a book that every library should own and every person should read.-Elizabeth Caulfield Felt, Washington State Univ. Lib., Pullman
USA Today
"A canny mix of optimism and practicality gives Pipher's fans a way to resist the worst of the culture around them and substitute the best of themselves."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Eye-opening . . . Pipher's simple solutions for survival in this family-unfriendly culture are peppered throughout the heart-wrenching and uplifting stories of several of her client families. . . . Highly readable, passionate."
Kirkus Reviews
Psychologist Pipher (Reviving Ophelia, 1994) provides a sharp, often unsettling critique of many of the values that currently define our lives, coupled with solid advice for rebuilding families. Maintaining that "Much of our modern unhappiness involves a crisis of meaning and values." Pipher contends that technology and consumerism have become the gods of the '90s. Hours spent viewing cable television programs and commercials not only discourage meaningful communication among family members, it also leaves the viewers with the impression that happiness can be purchased. This, in turn, triggers such a need for money that work—even when meaningless or despised—becomes the individual's raison d'être. True happiness, insists Pipher, comes from meaningful, ethical work. What people really need is "protected time and space" and the need to reconnect with one another and the outside world. Simple rituals, such as saying grace at dinner and unplugging the telephone and television, can "hallow family time." Shifting the lens to her own profession, Pipher further contends that most therapists only harm their clients by focusing on their particular neuroses while ignoring the negative impact of contemporary culture. Therapists can be most helpful by encouraging the building of family connections, as well as links to the natural world and community resources. Pipher supplements her thesis with case studies. We hear of families that thrive when a parent cuts back on work hours and when a disaffected teen discovers the joys of helping the elderly.

Lively, straightforward, and somewhat subversive, The Shelter of Each Other offers hope for the American family in a time that challenges its viability.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594483721
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/25/2008
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 502,876
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Pipher

Mary Pipher, Ph.D., is a psychologist and the author of nine books, including the New York Times bestsellers Reviving Ophelia, The Shelter of Each Other, and Another Country, as well as Seeking Peace and Writing to Change the World. She lives in Nebraska.
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