The Sibling Society

( 3 )

Overview

Where have all the grownups gone? In answering that question with the same freewheeling erudition and intuitive brilliance that made Iron John a national bestseller, poet, storyteller and translator Robert Bly tells us that we live in a "sibling society, " in which adults have regressed into adolescence and adolescents refuse to grow up.

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Overview

Where have all the grownups gone? In answering that question with the same freewheeling erudition and intuitive brilliance that made Iron John a national bestseller, poet, storyteller and translator Robert Bly tells us that we live in a "sibling society, " in which adults have regressed into adolescence and adolescents refuse to grow up.

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Editorial Reviews

Walter Goodman
Mr. Bly is an accomplished storyteller, and his affection for the tales of many peoples over many centuries can be catching. But when it comes to the contemporary condition, his propheteering arias seem as out of control as the nafs....No, don't throw his book out the window. At least read the fairy tales. ''The Sibling Society'' is by turns engaging and exasperating, suggestive and tendentious, a mix of imagination, scholarship and remarkable silliness. Although he announces, in his take-no-prisoners way, ''Television is the thalidomide of the 1990's,'' I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Bly showed up on PBS again soon. -- New York Times
Kirkus Reviews
Following Iron John's (1990) mythopoetic men's-movement guide, Bly's new jeremiad turns to broader issues of children and parents, excoriating the modern world as an adolescent culture lacking parental supervision.

Bly's "sibling society," formed by "junk culture . . . early and shallow sexuality, destruction of courtesy . . . economic uncertainty," sacrifices mythic symbols for literal information, with children the first victims of this denatured environment. "Adults," Bly writes, "regress toward adolescence; and adolescents—seeing that—have no desire to become adults." This tattered society is, he suggests, the puerile heir to the overthrown, emotionally bankrupt patriarchy. Bly, playing at punditry, predicts a catastrophic downward shift in values unless we identify the proper way to rear children and unless we "half- adults" become truly mature. He salts his call to action with citations from New York Times articles and sundry statistics on education, crime, and the economy. In fact, The Sibling Society often sounds more like Bob Dole, Anna Quindlen, or even Ross Perot than Iron John. As in that earlier work Bly turns to myths and poetry both to illustrate our predicament (an elaborate reading of Jack and the Beanstalk focusing on the Giant's ungoverned appetite) and to suggest an alternative model for father-son relations (the Hindu myth of Ganesha's creation). Bly also liberally borrows from feminists, such as Jean Baker Miller and Mary Pipher, to fashion his vision of a healthy environment for maturation and intimacy, for fathers and mothers, daughters and sons alike. There are stops along the way to settle scores with radical feminists and the cowboy cult of inarticulately stoic masculinity, among others. Bly, having identified what children need—"Stability . . . advice, good psychic food, unpolluted stories," as well as clear rites of passage and access to the great outdoors—offers some specifics on how we should go about providing these necessities.

Urgent, impassioned, with (potentially) wide appeal, but Bly's myth-patterns jar with his newly adopted news-magazine style of statistics and commentary.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679781288
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/1997
  • Series: Vintage Series
  • Edition description: Reprinted Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 584,511
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2007

    The chickens come home to roost

    10 years ago in May 1997 this book came out, and you can see the Sibling Society all around us to day. With no one to look up to (just stop and look at who is in charge) We look for Mature Males and Females and all we get are brothers and sisters competing with each other, trying to out do one another. This book is a look into the American soul, take a peek if you dare.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2001

    Earth Shattering

    If you want to know what Britney Spears, Columbine, and Jerry Springer have in common, BUY THIS BOOK. I have had so many questions about how our culture has changed so quickly and violently, and I was never satisfied by the books I have read. They may give a piece of the puzzle to me, but not a whole, comprehensive picture. But then I came across this masterpiece, and Bly, amazingly, is able to answer every question I have ever had as to why, at this time of peace and prosperity, our nation seems more impoverished (emotionally, mentally, spiritually) than ever. Bly is a prophet whose words need to be heard and heeded. It's a quick read but will keep you up at night for a long time afterward

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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