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The Perfect Sister: What Draws Us Together, What Drives Us Apart Paperback – Apr 4 2005

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Reprint edition (April 4 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156031841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156031844
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 13.9 x 2.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,863,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this gentle and engaging study, social psychologist Millman explores adult sisterhood's difficulties and joys. She proposes that the words "what drives us apart" in the book's subtitle refer to "failing to see the person who is actually there," relating to an "Imagined Sister... the sister we wish for." "What draws us together" pertains to acknowledging "our Real Sister," who "might be a wonderful person or a terrible one." Millman divides her book into three sections: sisters who nurture each other, sisters who have troubled relationships and sisters who have found a way to heal their difficult relationships late in life. She interviewed women from various locations and socio-economic classes, and, when possible, several sisters from one family, revealing how sisters who grew up together may have completely different perceptions of their family. Although Millman's premise is simple, her conclusions are nuanced and unique to each family. She intimately shares her musings, her style more like a friendly conversation than a sociological study. Women trying to resolve problems with their sisters will glean insights from this study, and, as sisterly relations turn out inevitably to be entwined with mothers, fathers, brothers, aunts and grandparents, the book will also interest women who are trying to understand and come to terms with their entire families, not just sisters. Emphasizing the unique value of sisterly love, Millman warmly encourages both her subjects and readers who may have family difficulties to "make amends."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.



“Fascinating. Fatness in our society is not just a condition but a
metaphor. Anyone who’s ever tried to lose five pounds should read this

“An examination of the mythology of fat . . . [It] dissects the reality,
the psychology, the politics and the mythology of a massive and
weighty world. I recommend it to all those fighting real or imaginary
obesity and those curious and concerned about what ‘Being Fat in
America’is like.”—THE WASHINGTON POST

"Cultivates a deeper understanding and appreciation of the unique bond of sisterhood."

"Combining research and readability, THE PERFECT SISTER will help countless siblings understand and improve their relationships."

Marcia Millman is one of our most talented observers of intimate life. Sisters will and should devour this book

"Absolutely riveting and fascinating."

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Sisters are a complicated relationship: though they may grow up together, their personalities and perspectives may be totally different. Author Marcia Millman spent hundreds of hours interviewing sisters to examine how their bonds were formed and how they changed throughout life: Perfect Sister considers what makes adult sisters close - or not - and how sister sibling bonds and rifts form.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa00283bc) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0b28f30) out of 5 stars The Complex Relationships of Sisters Dec 11 2007
By Geneva Mae Lewis - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Marcia Millman tackles a emotionally fraught bond- that of sisters. I found her approach intriguing-using oral history, interviewing the sisters separately. The wake-up call for me was seeing how differently the sisters viewed their roles, family, relationships, and even basic details of their family history. This really struck a nerve in my own sister relationship, which I value greatly but has not been without challenges. Her advice to accept your sister's history and to move on from there was valuable. There is no need to set ledgers straight; accept her right to have a different perspective. After reading so many stories, the thread came across- the sister relationship is important in how we view ourselves and our family. It's not just about jealousy and sibling rivalry-at some time it may be one of your only connections to your family, so it's important to study and pay attention to this often-dismissed relationship. Marcia Millman has let her subjects speak, and provided important insight without being overbearing.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0b28f84) out of 5 stars We All Wish.... April 10 2006
By Cheryl Dellasega - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Millman doesn't believe "the perfect sister" exists, although she does describe a few who come very close. I found this book a curious mix of discussions about types of sisters (The Outsider Sister, The Wishful Sister)and lengthy biographies of families, rather than siblings. I wanted to read more about the sisters and less about the mothers and fathers who created them because, as the author admits, "sisters play a huge role in our childhood and identities."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fd31cd8) out of 5 stars The Perfect Sister - also great mothers / daughter insights Dec 12 2008
By Christine Grohs - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was given this book by my sister (both of us in our fifties and "close"). It had great insights / suggestions to assure a gret relationship such as to recongize that I am NOT my sister and had very different experiences and feelings about growing up in the same family. I bought a copy for each of my aduly daughters who each have two daughters - so they could be aware of how their mothering impacts the curent and future relationship of thier girls.
HASH(0xa0b29228) out of 5 stars Experiences such as these can really bring out the best or worst in how we relate to each other Sept. 14 2014
By Em - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have sisters and I related to any of the stories here. And the perspective the author has becomes more relevant to me as we get older and our family has gone through many phases of experience, such as the death of a parent. Experiences such as these can really bring out the best or worst in how we relate to each other.
HASH(0xa0b291c8) out of 5 stars Enjoyed it. I was getting together with my 3 ... March 23 2015
By Bette Antor - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Enjoyed it. I was getting together with my 3 sisters so we all read the book to discuss. The book made for a good conversation.