On the note that there is ""usually only a best solution, not a perfect one,"" this handbook for prospective and current stepfamilies provides solid suggestions and comforting support. Both the psychological and the practical aspects of the creation of a new family after divorce or the death of a partner are thoroughly discussed, as are the many complex relationships that result. The themes of loss (with people's needs to ""say their goodbyes to the past""), differing expectations (two adults may be on a ""collision course"" if they don't talk about them), and flexibility (for a while ""you may need to be a two-toothpaste family"") recur in the chapters on pre-stepfamily life, remarriage planning, and the first months of the remarriage. On the practical side, there are suggestions about: setting up a household (try to find a new place to live to avoid encountering the ""ghosts"" of former partners); helping children of various ages adjust (preschoolers need to be told of plans repeatedly; teenagers like to be asked how things might be done); and legal questions--including custody, visitation, adoption, and financial arrangements. Relationships old and new are explored in all their permutations, with telling examples and sensible advice. Edie needed to learn to take time to let her relationship with her stepson evolve; Joanne's parents got over their feelings of abandonment after Joanne remarried and moved 30 miles away. And when an older parent remarries, adult children should ""be given first choice of any items, no matter how unimportant they may seem"" before the parent disposes of them. Throughout, the Vishers speak from experience, both personal and professional: in 1959 they created a new family, complete with eight children ranging in age from five to 15; they founded the Stepfamily Association of America; she's a psychologist, he's a psychiatrist. Their first book, Step families (1979), was addressed primarily to therapists; this is a welcome resource for the families themselves.