Research and common sense back solid strategies that allow children to navigate the ups and downs of divorce with minimal...

TWO HOMES, ONE CHILDHOOD

A PARENTING PLAN TO LAST A LIFETIME

How to ensure your child has a good life during and after your divorce.

When two parents separate—whatever the reason—the child or children from that relationship are suddenly faced with the massive challenge of living in two different homes. Emery (Psychology and Director, Center for Children, Families, and the Law/Univ. of Virginia; The Truth about Children and Divorce, 2004, etc.) provides guidelines on how to make sure the child’s needs and wants are taken care of, regardless of whether it seems fair to the parents. Using ample research and his own experiences, the author shows how the child must come first in any divorce, with each parent supporting the child by giving him or her a safe environment, unconditional love, consistent discipline, and minimal exposure to parental conflicts. He discusses what joint custody really represents from the perspective of the child—this often does not mean an equal number of hours spent with each parent. The concept of 50/50 custody doesn’t take into account the child’s desires and need to spend time with the parent he or she feels most comfortable around. From infancy through the early school years and into the teens, Emery identifies specific situations for each age level and gives parents the necessary tools to negotiate so that the child always comes first. Whether the issue is breast-feeding, finding the right school, the arrival of new stepparents, or the long distances children sometimes travel in order to see each parent, the author analyzes the arguments each parent might present. Although his delivery is a bit repetitive, Emery’s assessment of divorce and its effects on children is spot-on. Parents faced with divorce would do well to bring Emery’s book to the table at the next mediation session.

Research and common sense back solid strategies that allow children to navigate the ups and downs of divorce with minimal damage.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59463-415-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Avery

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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AN INVISIBLE THREAD

THE TRUE STORY OF AN 11-YEAR-OLD PANHANDLER, A BUSY SALES EXECUTIVE, AND AN UNLIKELY MEETING WITH DESTINY

A straightforward tale of kindness and paying it forward in 1980s New York.

When advertising executive Schroff answered a child’s request for spare change by inviting him for lunch, she did not expect the encounter to grow into a friendship that would endure into his adulthood. The author recounts how she and Maurice, a promising boy from a drug-addicted family, learned to trust each other. Schroff acknowledges risks—including the possibility of her actions being misconstrued and the tension of crossing socio-economic divides—but does not dwell on the complexities of homelessness or the philosophical problems of altruism. She does not question whether public recognition is beneficial, or whether it is sufficient for the recipient to realize the extent of what has been done. With the assistance of People human-interest writer Tresniowski (Tiger Virtues, 2005, etc.), Schroff adheres to a personal narrative that traces her troubled relationship with her father, her meetings with Maurice and his background, all while avoiding direct parallels, noting that their childhoods differed in severity even if they shared similar emotional voids. With feel-good dramatizations, the story seldom transcends the message that reaching out makes a difference. It is framed in simple terms, from attributing the first meeting to “two people with complicated pasts and fragile dreams” that were “somehow meant to be friends” to the conclusion that love is a driving force. Admirably, Schroff notes that she did not seek a role as a “substitute parent,” and she does not judge Maurice’s mother for her lifestyle. That both main figures experience a few setbacks yet eventually survive is never in question; the story fittingly concludes with an epilogue by Maurice. For readers seeking an uplifting reminder that small gestures matter.

 

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4251-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Howard Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

THE ESCAPE ARTIST

Fremont (After Long Silence, 1999) continues—and alters—her story of how memories of the Holocaust affected her family.

At the age of 44, the author learned that her father had disowned her, declaring her “predeceased”—or dead in his eyes—in his will. It was his final insult: Her parents had stopped speaking to her after she’d published After Long Silence, which exposed them as Jewish Holocaust survivors who had posed as Catholics in Europe and America in order to hide multilayered secrets. Here, Fremont delves further into her tortured family dynamics and shows how the rift developed. One thread centers on her life after her harrowing childhood: her education at Wellesley and Boston University, the loss of her virginity to a college boyfriend before accepting her lesbianism, her stint with the Peace Corps in Lesotho, and her decades of work as a lawyer in Boston. Another strand involves her fraught relationship with her sister, Lara, and how their difficulties relate to their father, a doctor embittered after years in the Siberian gulag; and their mother, deeply enmeshed with her own sister, Zosia, who had married an Italian count and stayed in Rome to raise a child. Fremont tells these stories with novelistic flair, ending with a surprising theory about why her parents hid their Judaism. Yet she often appears insensitive to the serious problems she says Lara once faced, including suicidal depression. “The whole point of suicide, I thought, was to succeed at it,” she writes. “My sister’s completion rate was pathetic.” Key facts also differ from those in her earlier work. After Long Silence says, for example, that the author grew up “in a small city in the Midwest” while she writes here that she grew up in “upstate New York,” changes Fremont says she made for “consistency” in the new book but that muddy its narrative waters. The discrepancies may not bother readers seeking psychological insights rather than factual accuracy, but others will wonder if this book should have been labeled a fictionalized autobiography rather than a memoir.

A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982113-60-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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