Email this review


Cold comfort though it may be to the adult--recently separated or already divorced--to hear that one's ""separation distress"" (""a response to intolerable inaccessibility of the attachment figure"") is equivalent to the child's response to ""parental absence,"" sociologist Robert Weiss nevertheless has given that phenomenon--among many others, all through that ""difficult transitional period"" from unhappy married to ""postmarital"" states--a name. A name, a theory, and a way to ""recovery""--at the very least a way of ""conceptualizing [one's] difficulties and seeing them as manageable."" Research with two self-help groups (Parents Without Partners and Seminars for the Separated) provides the backbone and inspiration of the book while the personal statements of members lend considerable interest. From beginning to end (when the end is divorce), the emotional and social ""challenges"" that one might reasonably expect to encounter are catalogued and filled out with ""strategies for recovery"": how to tell one's kin, one's friends, one's children, what to expect of (and ask) a lawyer, and--if progress has been good--what to look for in ""forming a relationship with a new attachment figure."" Somewhere in the middle ground between common sense and off-putting social scientific jargon (""We might guess that the attachment of individual A to individual B is facilitated insofar as individual B maintains proximity, displays interest in individual A . . ."") there is a book here--intended presumably for those people going through this painful experience but primarily useful, one would imagine, to the ""professionals working with them."" Just next door to an academic text, but a how-to-do-it book as well, fancier, more theoretical than most but often with sound, practical advice for coping. If nothing else, the suggestion's there that everything's got to get better since it can't get much worse.

Pub Date: Nov. 28th, 1975
ISBN: 0465097235
Publisher: Basic Books