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All Kinds of Families

Posted about 11 months ago by Meg Raymond
Posted in Book Reviews

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” –Tolstoy


I grew up in a neighborhood of not-big houses on small lots. Most of the houses had families – some with older kids, some with younger, some grown-and-flew-the-coop kids who came back to visit on holidays.

It was a very Norman Rockwell childhood: Mom and Dad, brother and sister, dog and cat, assorted gerbils, lizards, fish, and more. Visitors – neighbors, neighborhood kids, family members – streamed in and out. The door was always open. There were almost always cookies in the big black kettle on the kitchen counter.

We had books.  Lots of books.  My family read. We read together, we read alone, and quite often we all sat in the living room and read our own books. We talked. I come from a long line of talkers: raconteurs, storytellers, anecdotalists, slingers of hooey.  We argued, we discussed, we shouted, and sometimes we pounded our fists or stamped our feet to be heard. My family laughed. Because happy families laugh.

I was in college before I realized that not everyone had the same happy childhood that I took for granted. I was much older when I found out that some of the kids from my neighborhood lived in homes where there was violence or abuse or drinking – all manner of unhappiness and dysfunction.

Family memoirs come in all shapes and sizes. Take a look at these booklists for tales of families experiencing a myriad of challenges:

Adult Children, Aging Parents: Swapping Roles With Dignity, Humor, and Respect.

Families Sure Are Funny: Memoirs of Unconventional Upbringings.

Family Secrets: Memoirs About Things We Don’t Talk About.

Getting Above Your Raising: Memoirs of Overcoming Toxic Childhoods.

About the Author

If I'm not librarianing, or chasing one of my plethora of dogs around the yard, I probably have my nose buried in a book. I like all kinds of books. Regency romances - love 'em. Gory police procedurals - yes, ma'am. Historical fiction - please, and thank you. Heavy "literary" titles - shhhh, I may not have actually finished some of those! Off-beat, warped, slightly askew books - oh, yes, indeedy. Violent supernatural fantasy - why not? Chick lit, hen lit, lad lit - yeah, yeah, yeah. What have you read? Need a suggestion, or ten?

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