The Unexpected Legecy of Divorce: The 25 Year Landmark Study Hardcover – Sep 6 2000
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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
From Publishers Weekly
Twenty-five years ago, when the impact of divorce on children was not well understood, Wallerstein began what has now become the largest study on the subject, and this audiobook, which McIntire reads with compassion and warmth, presents the psychologist's startling findings. By tracking approximately 100 children as they forge their lives as adults, she has found that contrary to the popular belief that kids would bounce back after the initial pain of their parents' split, children of divorce often continue to suffer well into adulthood. Their pain plays out in their relationships, their work lives and their confidence about parenting themselves. Wallerstein argues that although the situation is dire, there is hope to be found at the end of good counseling and healing. Unfortunately, in her desire to communicate a lot in a highly accessible format, Wallerstein verges on oversimplification at times. Nonetheless, hers is an important contribution to our understanding of what is a central social problem. Based on the Hyperion hardcover (Forecasts, July 17, 2000).
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
For example, martinlady from Pennsylvania rated this book two stars, although it is plainly obvious that she did not read the entire book because otherwise she would understand that the book was written in such a way that each TYPE of family was REPRESENTED by the "story of one child of divorce's life" (ie. Karen, Larry, etc.). The author makes clear in the beginning of the book that these are her best/extreme/generalized cases. They are not real people, but a conglomerate of many children's lives who were all raised in similar familes. Obviously, there are divorced families in which one or both of the parents aren't emotionally unhealthy and/or don't slack on parenting after divorce. The author recognizes this, and states numerous times that children of divorce who had one parent who recovered well and kept parenting as their main concern did indeed adjust better as adults. People who skim books should not write reviews.
I did read the book cover to cover, and I in fact am a child of divorce who had a WONDERFUL childhood. Even though I didn't have to take over as caretaker as "Karen" did, or witness violence/disrespect between my parents as "Larry" and "Paula" did, I still found the book to be extremely comforting and eye-opening. I also found it to be very well-written - the idea to personify different types of extreme divorce situations in separate characters makes the book very easy to read. How else would you put together and generalize the results of a 25 year study on over 100 unique individuals from over 100 different families? A must read for all children of divorce.
I agree with other reviews that have stated the demographics of the test group are skewed, but as someone who grew up in this affluent area of California, it made my connection to the book even stronger.
I also agree that not all children are as negatively affected as the book states, but there are always exceptions to the rule, and I think that this book takes a look at how the majority of children are affected.
It may not be the most scientific study on the subject, but it is fabulous in what it does offer. I highly suggest it as a must read for any child of divorce, and as a guide for their parents to help them overcome some of the negative psychological effects of divorce which affect the majority of children.
The marketing blurbs say this book should be read by children of divorce and by anyone contemplating divorce. Here's a bigger and more useful market: everyone who is married or plans to get married.
Why do I say this? As an engaged or married person, you will be so moved and horrified by what divorce did to the subject children, throughout their lives, that you will go to much greater lengths to ensure that your marriage succeeds, before any idea of divorce even arises. Most "relationship" books lack bite, and talk about various strategies for creating a happy marriage and/or avoiding divorce without really bringing to life the pain that a failed marriage inflicts on the children. By all means get those relationship books, plus this one, to scare you into actually following the relationship advice.
Most recent customer reviews
If you are, you may want to (should, MUST!) read this book first. Even if you are divorced, it is a great source of information for dealing with all the "stuff" that getting... Read morePublished on March 14 2011 by Greg L
I am a fast reader usually completing a book this size in one or two days, yet I have spent two weeks reading the re-reading this volume. Read morePublished on July 10 2004
I would strongly suggest anyone going through a divorce or anyone being a child of divorce to read this book.Published on Oct. 4 2003
This book offers a sorely needed perspective of the children's. It's for parents who are divorced or considering it, children whose parents are divorced and spouses of children of... Read morePublished on Sept. 2 2003 by Cameron Alverson
The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce is an important book. Using a twenty-five year study the author debunks all of the myths of the divorce culture in which we now live. Read morePublished on July 24 2003 by Amazon Customer
As a child of divorce who is the same age as Wallerstein's test subjects, I was particularly interested to hear what she had to say. Read morePublished on June 16 2003
I believe Dr. Wallerstein's work and conclusions are misleading and potentially harmful to children and families if taken as gospel. Read morePublished on March 23 2003 by Amazon Customer
First and foremost to the divorcing parents I advise this book. It can help you see what is most important to you- your prioraty as a parent or as a husband or wife. Read morePublished on Oct. 19 2002 by Milena Gomez