Posts Tagged ‘family relationships’

The Advantages of Growing Up in the Middle

August 25th, 2011 No comments

Authors Catherine Salmon and Katrin Schuman take a new stance on middle children, those who often get lost in the family mix, in their new book The Secret Power of Middle Children: How Middleborns Can Harness Their Unexpected and Remarkable Abilities. Though older and younger siblings are sometimes perceived as outshining middle-borns, there are quite a few advantages to being stuck in the middle. The lack of the intense parental scrutiny that other children in the family may receive frees middle children to explore their own path. Read more…


Jane Smiley Draws on Family History in “Private Life”

July 27th, 2011 No comments

Novelist Jane Smiley has written on a variety of subjects in several genres from the Pulitzer Prize winning family drama A Thousand Acres to the animal loving children’s series A Good Horse. For her 13th piece of fiction, the alumna of the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop has drawn from her own family history to create Private Life, telling of the difficult marriage between Capt. Andrew Jackson Jefferson Early and Margaret Mayfield. The novel spans the late 19th century to the mid-20th century, moving from Missouri to California’s Bay Area, and addresses the balance of power in a marriage and gender roles. The author used elements from the lives of her great aunt and uncle to shape her characters. Read more…


Baldacci Takes New Direction in Latest Novel

July 25th, 2011 No comments

Since the release of his first novel, Absolute Power in 1996, David Baldacci has established himself as a master of the political thriller. But the bestselling author has taken a new writing direction with his latest book One Summer (Grand Central Publishing, 352pgs), exploring family drama; a genre he experimented with early in his career. In an interview with Reuters, the writer discussed his experience crafting this sentimental story: “In some ways it was liberating. I didn’t have to lay out a lot of red herrings and clues. I could delve more deeply into the characters. Obviously, it’s a different sort of genre. But those sorts of stories were what I started with. I wrote short stories for 10 years before I became a thriller writer, and their themes were more like the themes explored in One Summer.” Read more…


New Release: Please Look After Mom

April 12th, 2011 No comments

By Kyung-sook Shin
Knopf | 256pgs
Release Date: April 5, 2011

Korean literary star Kyung-sook Shin makes her English language debut with the heartrending Please Look After Mom. Translated by Chi-Young Kim, the story deals with a grief stricken family searching for a mother who has disappeared from a bustling Seoul subway station. Voiced in four distinct narratives: the son, daughter, father, and finally the mother, Park So-nyo’s own point of view, a family portrait is drawn full of love, guilt and regret. Park So-nyo has spent a lifetime delaying her own dreams for the benefit of her family, but it is not until she is absent from their lives that her children and husband appreciate the enormity of her sacrifices. Though they love her, they realize they do not truly know her. Read more…


New Release: The Weird Sisters

February 15th, 2011 No comments

41x7oeCi7KL._SL160_By Eleanor Brown
Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam | 336pgs
Release Date: January 20, 2011

Sisterly love comes to the fore in Eleanor Brown’s debut novel The Weird Sisters. When their mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, three sisters unite at their childhood home to help care for her. The girls, all named after Shakespearean characters by their father, a Bard scholar, each bring their own personal baggage back to their mid-western homestead. The oldest sister, Rose (named after Rosalind in As You Like It) has remained in their small town of Barnwell, pursuing a career as college math professor. But, the comfortable, structured life she has carefully built becomes threatened when her fiancé is offered a job in England. Middle sister Bean (named after Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew) is escaping a disastrous life in New York, where she was recently fired from her job and accused of embezzlement. Baby sister Cordy (named after Cordelia in King Lear) has been living a free-spirited vagabond life, until she finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, without any real idea of where to settle down or how to raise a family. Dealing with their ailing mother, their eccentric father who communicates primarily in Shakespearean verse, and their own inner turmoil brings the sisters closer together and cements not just love, but a genuine liking and respect for one another. Read more…


New Release: Moonface: A True Romance

February 1st, 2011 No comments

41b43yKPU8L._SL160_By Angela Balcita
Harper Perennial | 240pgs
Release Date: February 1, 2011

Angela Balcita’s sweet and amusing biography about life and love Moonface: A True Romance, arrives as many minds turn to romance in anticipation of Valentine’s Day. Yet, her story is anything but a fairytale romance. Suffering kidney failure in her late teens, Balcita was already dealing with the complications of her first kidney transplant, donated by her brother, when she met Chris Doyle in her junior year of college. As it became apparent that she would need another kidney, Doyle selflessly volunteered to be a donor, though their relationship was still new. This was the beginning of a deep love affair that has lasted 14 years and produced two-year-old daughter, Nico. “My big feeling was like we were transcending something magical – we were being united. I saw it as very emotional and spiritual, this gift,” Balcita expresses in an interview with USA Today. Doyle, now the author’s husband, has been her champion and cheerleader, helping her through illness and pain (she would eventually need an third transplant), and focusing their lives on a positive future. The couple’s coping mechanism of wit and humor is evident in the books narrative, and helps to craft an inspiring testimony of love’s endurance. Read more…


New Release: Must You Go?: My Life with Harold Pinter

November 3rd, 2010 No comments

41rYVo3CujL._SL160_By Antonia Fraser
Nan A. Talese | 336 pages
Release Date: November 2, 2010

In the heartfelt memoir Must You Go?: My Life with Harold Pinter, celebrated historical biographer Antonia Fraser shares intimate moments with her husband Pinter, the renowned playwright. The two Brits met at a party in 1975, though both were married to other people at the time. Fraser was wife to Tory member of Parliament and mother to six children, while Pinter was wed to an actress and had one child. Their romantic relationship had a somewhat scandalous beginning, but deepened into a love that spanned more than three decades. The couple lived together from August of 1975 until the end of 2008 when the Nobel Prize winning dramatist succumbed to cancer. The narrative, mainly culled from events recorded in Fraser’s diaries, offers private glimpses into the lives of two very public people, and reveals a marriage blessed with success and joy, yet tempered near the end with the challenge of illness. Read more…


A Paean for Adoption

August 25th, 2010 No comments

41vHCqK-1sL._SL160_Scott Simon writes openly and lovingly about the adoption process that he and his wife went through in order to bring their two daughters home from China in Baby, We Were Meant For Each Other: In Praise of Adoption (Random House, 180pgs). The author, known on the airwaves as the host of NPR‘s Weekend Edition, and his wife Caroline, had tried for years to conceive before deciding to adopt a child from overseas. Simon tells of their first “adopto-tourism” trip to China, anxiously seeing the sights with a group of adoptive parents, nervously waiting for the big moment when they’ll finally meet their child. The fulfillment of a dream, becoming parents, is both joyful and terrifying. At first sight, they immediately fall in love with the little girl they name Elise, though the euphoria is tempered with moments of panic and fear. “What have we done? What were we thinking? We’ve ripped a baby away from the only place she’s ever known, to bring her some place on the other side of the world that might as well be the moon. What kind of people are we?”
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Book Reveiw: One and the Same

August 19th, 2010 No comments

51lxPKX04BL._SL160_By Abigail Pogrebin
Doubleday ©2009 | Hardcover 288pgs

Journalist and identical twin Abigail Pogrebin offers a fascinating glimpse into the relationship between twins and how it impacts the need for individuality in One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I’ve Learned About Everyone’s Struggle to Be Singular. Twins, especially identical twins, are often seen as special, at times almost a novelty, in our society. The duo is bestowed with a unique “star power” that draws levels of attention few singletons experience. Such was especially true for Abigail and sister Robin who grew up loving to sing and perform, excelling academically (both graduating from Yale), and achieving successful careers in journalism.
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New Release: The Lonely Polygamist

May 18th, 2010 No comments

5137Yl8a3-L._SL160_By Brady Udall
W. W. Norton & Company | 602pgs
Release Date: May 3, 2010

Golden Richards struggles with indecision and loneliness while surrounded by his four wives and 28 children in The Lonely Polygamist, Brady Udall’s second novel. The Mormon patriarch is under tremendous strain as he divides his time between his family’s three separate households in remote Utah and tries to keep his failing construction business afloat, all while grieving over the death of his young daughter. In an effort to support his family, he goes against his religious beliefs and takes a contacting job building a brothel in Nevada, though he glosses over the truth with his family and tells them it is a retirement home. Richards may have a “God-given patriarchal authority”, yet he constantly struggles to keep up with the demands of his wives, and further complicates his life when he develops romantic feelings for a woman he meets at the construction site. Udall’s story of a man in crisis and a family in chaos encompasses the tragic and comedic elements of real life, with an ultimate message of love and redemption.
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