ADULT CHILDREN OF DIVORCE SPEAK OUT: About Growing by Claire Berman

ADULT CHILDREN OF DIVORCE SPEAK OUT: About Growing

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Based on interviews with adult men and women whose parents were divorced when they were children, this study by a free-lance journalist of the effects of divorce is heartfelt but unsatisfying. Berman's talks with nearly 50 men and women confirm recent research: Divorce is traumatizing for children, even college-age children. She lists the symptoms that are common to her subjects and to other children of trauma, be it children of alcoholics, abusers, or narcissistic mothers. Among the problems: difficulty with intimacy and commitment, low self-esteem, an urge to control, and a strong need for stability and security. She agrees with Diane Fassel (Growing Up Divorced, reviewed below) that some divorces wound more than others, and quotes the usual statistics regarding fathers' patterns of abandonment, mothers' plunges (usually with the children) into a lower standard of living, sometimes into actual poverty. On the positive side are escape from abuse and parental conflict and the possible rewards of successful remarriages, Berman offers sympathy and compassion but, unlike Fassel, no real solutions. Anecdotes about others building self-esteem and ventilating anger stoke motivation momentarily at best. To work harder at your marriage, and, if you must divorce, make it as easy on the children as possible is advice so vague that it can only compound guilt and confusion.

Pub Date: Jan. 11th, 1990
ISBN: 671-73149-1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
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