THE RUNAWAYS: Children, Husbands, Wives, and Parents by Myron Brenton

THE RUNAWAYS: Children, Husbands, Wives, and Parents

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Although other books have investigated teenage runaways, none has examined them along with adults who jump from one life to another. Brenton groups them all together, forcing a similar-situation linkage and calling for better social services to accommodate all of them. It's not unreasonable, and he doesn't use suspect statistics to inflate the need, but the similarities are rather superficial. He looks at different kinds of runaways and finds patterns in their dissatisfactions, shared impulses for flight, and common hardships after the event, both for the runaways and those they've left behind. Teenagers, most frequently exploited, are also good candidates for counseling; wives with no skills--a large proportion of those who run--often turn to prostitution or menial jobs; husbands, who have an easier time starting over, are also easier to trace, except for gays protected by a sympathetic informal network. Most families feel the loss--missing persons are missed--as well as anger and guilt, and many do benefit from outside help. But Brenton also incorporates others (Sixties dropouts still resisting conventional roles, unemployed Vietnam veterans, escapees from mental and geriatric institutions, harmless obsessed souls on the run from private demons) and these inclusions strain his argument. As in his other books (on sex, friendship, teachers), he cites numerous case histories to dramatize the variety of motives and outcomes. Readable, but broad rather than deep.

Pub Date: April 11th, 1978
Publisher: Little, Brown