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Best known as the dispenser of honest advice on sex (Heavenly Sex, 1995, etc.) and relationships between men and women, Dr. Ruth and her coauthor Yagoda (Will Rogers, 1993) examine the families that grow out of those relationships. She agrees wholeheartedly that the American family is not what it was, but she sees in a more optimistic light than many observers the new networks of blended families, extended families, families that include gay couples or are headed by single mothers or fathers. Putting a positive spin on virtually every aspect of the family values debate, from orphanages (they foster a "tremendous sense of belonging") to divorce (it has "created a kind of new extended family"), Westheimer also refuses to let "declining family values" take the blame for such events as the Los Angeles riots and the high teenage birth rate. She notes sensibly that falling employment, the rising cost of living, and other social factors (like women in the workplace) are forcing families to adapt. She argues that families could use a lot more help from government and business, and offers resources (including Internet addresses) likely to be of help to contemporary families. What gives this volume impact is the breadth of Dr. Ruth's personal experience (she lived in group homes, became pregnant out of wedlock, married, divorced her husband, and supported her daughter as a single mother) and the succinct and sensible marshalling of material.
Dr. Ruth's advice on sex has helped create new ideas about relationships; this feisty work may help stiffen the spines of the inventive men and women who are now trying to redefine the American family.
|Pt. 1||The Family Today||9|
|Ch. I||What Is a Family? A Personal Perspective||11|
|Ch. II||The American Family ... And How It Got That Way||30|
|Ch. III||Watching Ourselves: The Family on TV||56|
|Ch. IV||The Many Faces of the American Family||70|
|Pt. 2||And What to Do about It||111|
|Ch. V||Whose Family Values?||113|
|Ch. VI||What's Being Done to Help the American Family||131|
|Ch. VII||What the Government Can Do for the American Family||152|
|Ch. VIII||What American Business Can Do for the Family||174|
|Ch. IX||What You Can Do for Your Family||188|
|For Further Reading||209|