It’s not a therapeutic book. It’s a sociology book on children of divorce, when they are grown. If you were a child of a divorce, it mostly reads like the horror story of the babysitter with the call coming from “….inside the house!” If you’re married, it’ll give you that, so I’m not alone feeling.
The review from Amazon:
During the last 40 years, our society’s views on how families are created and how they operate has undergone a tremendous shift. In The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, authors Judith Wallerstein, Julia Lewis, and Sandra Blakeslee have assembled a variety of stories from people of different ages and life stages. Some are children of divorce, some are from families that stayed unhappily intact, but all of them offer valuable information important to all of us as parents, children, and members of society at large. Separate chapters focus on the different roles children take on in the event of a divorce or unhappy marriage, ranging from positive role model to deeply troubled adolescent. In many cases, the people interviewed continue to define themselves as children of divorce up to 30 years after the occurrence; this is described by one subject as “sort of a permanent identity, like being adopted or something.”
Both encouraging and thought-provoking, the final chapter questions how we maintain the freedom made possible by divorce while, at the same time, minimizing the damage. The authors’ response to this question begins with pragmatic suggestions about strengthening marriage–not bland “family values” rhetoric but practical how-to ideas combined with national policy initiatives that have been making the rounds for years. With fascinating stories and statistics, Wasserstein, Lewis, and Blakeslee have illuminated the improvements within reach while our society experiences these massive changes in it’s most fundamental relationships. –Jill Lightner
Related at PJ Lifestyle on dysfunctional relationships and marriages:
Recently while dining with my favorite husband at a restaurant with live music, the singer performed Danny’s Song, an old favorite of mine.
Since I had not heard this song in years it touched a raw emotional chord in my memory bank and the song has stayed on my mind ever since.
At the height of the song’s popularity I was a 16-year-old sophomore in high school. Whenever it played on the radio (which was quite frequently) my girlfriends and I would sing along at the top of our lungs.
But above all I remember the lyrics making a huge psychological impact on me, helping formulate my sweet 16 view of love, relationships and future marriage.
Now looking back at the song from my 57-year-old perspective it was the chorus that imprinted itself on my heart.
And even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with ya honey, everything will bring a chain of love.
And in the morning when I rise, you bring a tear of joy to my eyes,
And tell me everything is gonna be alright.
As a teenager that chorus spoke to me saying “whether you are rich or poor, love conquers all.”
I truly embraced the message.
Then of course you grow up and strap yourself in for a ride on the roller coaster of life. When hurricanes strike and the roller coaster gets swept out to sea (like this one in New Jersey recently) with you still on it, but your partner is gone and your wallet is empty, then you wise up and realize that song’s message was just a sweet 16 fairy tale.
As many aging baby boomers experienced their roller coaster ride through life, money issues were often deal breakers in marriages.
My peers may have started out singing “even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with ya honey” but then we watched as the record got severely scratched or broken after the roller-coaster took some sharp unexpected turns.
Since I like to think of myself as a one person aging baby boomer focus group… and if I was so heavily impacted by this song’s idyllic message, how many of you were as well?
In the comments section, you are allowed to stomp on your ex who stole your wallet, but just do not use real names!
On the other hand, if you are still in your first baby boomer marriage that is a testament to Danny’s Song, congratulations, and please share your story, but don’t make the rest of us feel too bad.
And get caught up on Myra’s previous Baby Boomer nostalgia adventures in this series’ predecessor, Classic Rock and Cheap Wine:
Ed Driscoll and I had fun last week with my brainwave about the preposterously-named Adam Smith’s freakish drive-by harassment of a (preternaturally Zen) Chick-Fil-A employee.
I was struck by the incident’s similarity to the famous “diner” scene in Five Easy Pieces (1970), right down to the “chicken”:
Ed quoted a film critic who held up that scene “as the point where American movies began to celebrate gratuitous anger.”
Anyone who’s watched other drivers careen out of the parking lot after the latest Fast & Furious movie has to admit that films affect our behavior; that cinematic ideas and attitudes trickle into the cultural water table, and sometimes pollute it.
To take one trivial instance: I’ve written before about the influence all those 1970s “Satanic children” flicks had on my decision not to have kids.
Three other movie tropes from that era impacted audiences in ways that continue today.
(Language and content warning:)
A first-rate comment leads the pack on Kathy Shaidle’s article today, How Women Ruin Romance By Talking Too Much:
My niece got married a few years ago and I attended the wedding. We live >2000 miles apart and have for many years so I can’t say I know her or the guy she married very well. Still, within brief time I visited with them I couldn’t help but notice a constant stream of snide & snarky little remarks from her directed at him. Oh, it was always “just teasing” of course. Still, there was the constant tide of snark. No subject could arise where she wasn’t getting a little dig in here or there; that sly little cut. He seemed to bear it well. Hey, they’re just jokes right? He was a good natured guy and liked by everyone. But I thought I could see his eyes get a bit tight from time to time. Nobody else seemed to notice though. The marriage was over in less than two years. A lot of people were surprised by the divorce. I wasn’t.
Hey all you single ladies out there! Tom Cruise is ready to find the next “love” of his life. Check out his new dating video:
Last August my parents gifted Mr. Fox and me with A Weekend To Remember for our eleventh anniversary. You can imagine our reactions were very different.
Me: “Cool! Two days with no kids!”
Him: “Crap. If this is one of those things where I have to hold hands with strangers and share my feelings I’ll hurt someone.”
A quick Google search assured him there would be no group sharing. It was a simple seminar with no small groups or embarrassing confessions. Instead we would listen to experts talk about topics we should be interested in like getting along, loving more, and parenting better; and then we could go out on the town in lovely Schaumburg, Illinois, and enjoy all the fabulous restaurants, of which there are many. None of this made Mr. Fox any more at ease. His jaw clenched so tight for the car ride out there I could see a vein throbbing in his cheek which, after eleven years, I have identified as a neon sign that says: “Don’t speak.” He was probably plotting his exit strategy.
Happily, it was nothing like he expected and we found ourselves laughing from the first minute it started. The entertaining speakers overflowed with advice we’d never heard before. Not only that, but it had been about five years since we had looked each other in the eyeballs without interruption. Was he always this funny? Have his eyes always been that blue? It was almost as if we had a chance to remember each other. Daily life with little kids is so fast and hectic that it is very easy to lose each other in referee mode. It’s pure survival.
What we learned, besides the fact that getting away is good medicine, was that most of our ideas of what marriage is supposed to be are cultural myths that are dangerous to a healthy relationship.