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Mixed Blessings: A Guide to Multicultural and Multiethnic Relationships

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Is love really all you need? This book mines the complexity of romantic relationships that are a union of cultures as well as individuals, offering guidance and applied examples.
Berlin and Cannon are marriage and family therapists who wrote this book, their first, as a reflection of issues that continually arose during their counseling sessions. “We’ve had countless conversations about how multiculturalism affects us and our clients,” writes Berlin. “We train other professionals on this topic, too, so it feels natural to extend these conversations into book form.” The guide, which Berlin explains was “written from the gut,” begins with the authors’ own stories of their multicultural backgrounds and comprises three main sections: an introduction to the terms and concepts that will be used, including collectivist versus individualist paradigms, acculturation, ethnocentricity and code switching; fictionalized first-person narratives of twelve different couples that offer illustrations of these concepts; and a resource section with a glossary, worksheets and suggested reading list. The material is enlightening, effectively outlining how varied cultural perspectives affect worldviews. The authors argue that many of us aren’t aware of how our cultural responses may differ from those of our loved ones, inspiring aha moments from readers who may not even think of their primary relationship as a multicultural one. The writing is intelligent but not academic, ensuring that the book will be as accessible to clients as to therapists, and some of the narratives are riveting. Particularly poignant is the story of Angie, from Chicago, and Francois, from Haiti. Angie grappled with life as a strong and modern woman in a traditionally patriarchal culture; Francois, with being black in America without being African-American. Berlin and Cannon rely heavily on these personal anecdotes, and they form the bulk of the book, reflecting their assertion that they are “clinicians, not researchers.” This statement may serve, too, as a disclaimer for those who might question some of their definitions: Some readers, for instance, may raise an eyebrow at the idea of individualist cultures being more dependent on governmental structure than collectivist ones. But, ideologically pure or not, their concepts ring true through the examples, giving readers much to think about and apply to their own real-world experiences.
Required reading for anyone who counsels or is part of a multicultural relationship.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2013

ISBN: 978-0989522908

Page Count: 210

Publisher: Mixed Blessings LLC

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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