An in-depth exploration of the bonds between siblings and their surprisingly large influence on how we develop.
Time senior editor Kluger (Freedom Stone, 2011, etc.) has experienced myriad familial and sibling relationships in his life: son, brother, stepbrother, half brother and stepson, to name just a few. Using these often humorous, but sometimes dark, experiences as a handy framework, he first explains why human siblings are unique in the animal kingdom and why, in many cases, bonds between brothers and sisters are among the most important in their lives. Masterfully weaving anecdotal passages with academic research and scientific data, the author thoroughly examines the many manifestations of the simple brother-brother, sister-sister or brother-sister relationship, and the dynamic within each. Kluger devotes chapters to such major topics as the importance of birth order in a growing family, parental divorce and blended families (which become more prevalent each day), and what happens when a parent clearly favors a particular child. The author also touches on why siblings fight, how their risky behaviors may influence one another (hint: it’s not always negatively), sex and gender and sibling relationships in old age. Kluger doesn’t neglect the “curious worlds of twins and singletons”; they get a chapter all to themselves.
An entertaining, enlightening and helpful handbook for familial relations from an author who’s been through them all.