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No Place Like Home: Relationships and Family Life among Lesbians and Gay Men [Hardcover]

Christopher Carrington
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 1 2000 Worlds of Desire: The Chicago Series on Sexuality, Gender, and Culture
In this rich, surprising portrait of the world of lesbian and gay relationships, Christopher Carrington unveils the complex and artful ways that gay people create and maintain both homes and "chosen" families for themselves.

"Carefully separating stereotype from reality, Carrington investigates family in the gay and lesbian community. Relying upon interviews and observation, the author analyzes the loves and routings of 52 diverse lesbian, gay, and bisexual couples in the Bay area. . . . [He] closes the work with a discussion of the raging same-sex marriage debate and posits an enlightened solution to this dilemma." —Library Journal

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In this sociological study of "lesbigay" domestic partnership, Christopher Carrington explores the expanded views of family that inform the lives of the 50 established Bay Area couples included in his study. Drawing from in-depth interviews, as well as weeklong field observations of eight households, he develops arguments on housework, caregiving, division of labor, "kinship work" on outside friendships and biolegal families, and the tricky concepts of fairness and egalitarianism within partnerships. Although far from a random sample of American gay men and lesbians, his subjects range widely in age, ethnicity, class background, and income level, although only five households with children were included. Couples were interviewed separately, revealing amusing disparities in their accounts of domestic life. The jargon and sociological hairsplitting make for some unintentional humor, as in the chapter on "feeding work" (known to the rest of us as shopping and cooking): "Planning meals, learning about foodstuffs and techniques, considering the preferences and emotions of significant others, and overseeing nutritional strategies frame the essential yet invisible precursor work to the actual daily process of preparing a meal." Let's eat! Not the perkiest book on gay and lesbian life, No Place Like Home nevertheless covers unfamiliar territory with intelligence and insight. --Regina Marler

From Library Journal

Carefully separating stereotype from reality, Carrington (sociology, San Franciso State Univ.) investigates family in the gay and lesbian community. Relying upon interviews and observation, the author analyzes the lives and routines of 52 diverse lesbian, gay, and bisexual couples in the Bay area. Carrington explores several areas: "feeding work," the business of planning and executing meals; housework; "kin work," the creation and preservation of family connections; "consumption work," purchasing goods and services for the family; and the division of labor between partners. Beware: no domestic stone is left unturned. After five chapters of exacting detail about the domestic lives of these families, Carrington closes the work with a discussion of the raging same-sex marriage debate and posits an enlightened solution to this dilemma. This work adds much to the growing body of literature on domestic work and gender. Recommended for gender, gay and lesbian, and family social science collections.
-Kimberly L. Clarke, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Twin Cities
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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First Sentence
As I write these words, a cultural debate in the United States rages over the status of lesbian and gay families, most notably in the struggles over lesbian and gay marriage, as well as in the struggles to gain "domestic partnership" benefits. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Idea of kinkeeper new to me April 21 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I bought this book entirely on the fact that I spotted the discussion of "kinkeeper" when I skimmed through this book. This idea, though not original to the author of this book, was a real revelation to me when I first saw it in this book. It really blew me away, though in hindsight it seems so obvious. There is a gay couple in my family tree and I always wondered why the half who was my blood kin wasn't the same one who kept in touch with me, rather, it's his other half who regularly does. My other relatives, it's usually the half I'm related to by blood who keeps in touch with me. The instant I saw in this book the concept of "kinkeeper," all of a sudden I realized, my cuz wasn't the kinkeeper, rather, it was his life partner who had assumed that role in their communications with me! I had wondered previously if, on some level, something was wrong re my connection with my cuz. But in fact, all I needed to do in my own mind was, at least for this particular couple, to separate out the role of "kinkeeper" from my other usual expectations of blood kin. As a result of this book, therefore, I feel better now about my connection with my cuz. [Truth in reporting: This is the only part of this book that I've read so far. My rating does not apply to any other part of this book.]
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5.0 out of 5 stars An absolutely fascinating book! March 29 2000
Format:Hardcover
This book offers an concise, realistic look into the everyday lives of gays and lesbians. The dynamics of "our" relationships and how we choose to make our homes, lives and create our families are revealed thru the tales of different couples. I found this book especially fascinating and useful in my situation. My partner and I have an extended chosen family as we live with another couple. We can relate to so many issues faced by some of the couples the book. This is a definite MUST READ for any gay couple!
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not so much about Vietnam as it is about the author herself March 20 2001
By TG Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is fun and well-written. The author is personally engaging and self-effacing. But the book is not so much about Vietnam as it is about the author herself. She discusses her reactions to the people and the people?s reactions to her. The Vietnamese in the story just play a supporting role, allowing her to display her growth and her misplaced sense of guilt she shoulders on behalf of her own country.
This is not to say that there aren?t some interesting observations made about Vietnam. But they are few. If you are interested in learning about one individual?s growth and experience through immersion in a foreign culture, this would be an excellent book for you. But I would not recommend this book as a vehicle for learning about modern Vietnam. (Look instead to Sacred Willow, Shadows and Wind or Understanding Vietnam).
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Encounters Vietnam April 8 2001
By Allison Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The House on Dream Street is the story of Dana Sach's sojourn in Vietnam; as she explores day to day life in Hanoi. As she becomes intimately involved in the activities and lives of her circle of acquaintances - her landlords and their extended families, neighbors and the street cafes on Dream Street (where she lives), and ultimately her lover, she beings to see beneath the surface and to discover Vietnam as it is, rather than as she expected.
Readers will enjoy this personal account of life in Vietnam. She has a gift for recounting each conversation verbatim, so that the account of her time flows swiftly as you read. Interspersed with the dialogue are her thoughtful comments on Vietnamese life and her personal reactions to events.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not so much about Vietnam as it is about the author herself March 20 2001
By TG Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is fun and well-written. The author is personally engaging and self-effacing. But the book is not so much about Vietnam as it is about the author herself. She discusses her reactions to the people and the people?s reactions to her. The Vietnamese in the story just play a supporting role, allowing her to display her growth and her misplaced sense of guilt she shoulders on behalf of her own country.
This is not to say that there aren?t some interesting observations made about Vietnam. But they are few. If you are interested in learning about one individual?s growth and experience through immersion in a foreign culture, this would be an excellent book for you. But I would not recommend this book as a vehicle for learning about modern Vietnam. (Look instead to Sacred Willow, Shadows and Wind or Understanding Vietnam).
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful at times but not without problems Jan. 7 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As an American living and working in Vietnam I was quite interested to read Dana Sach's novel. For the most part, I found her observations of Vietnam to be both insightful and honest. Her honesty is apparant in the way that she acknowledges her early naievety in her dealings with the people of Vietnam. The story was particularly interesting to me because it reveals Vietnam through the eyes of a female expat.
The novel is not without problems however. I found her chronology difficult to follow at times. Additionally, at one point she states that she spent the better part of a decade living in Vietnam, and trying to return to Vietnam; yet, it appears she only lived there for 2 years. That seems like a lot more "trying to return" than actually living there.
Her obsession with the 'American War' in her reflections can also get a bit tedious at times.
Overall, however, it is an interesting read with numerous insightful observations.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolutely fascinating book! March 29 2000
By jason reece - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book offers an concise, realistic look into the everyday lives of gays and lesbians. The dynamics of "our" relationships and how we choose to make our homes, lives and create our families are revealed thru the tales of different couples. I found this book especially fascinating and useful in my situation. My partner and I have an extended chosen family as we live with another couple. We can relate to so many issues faced by some of the couples the book. This is a definite MUST READ for any gay couple!
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