THE VALUE OF FAMILY by Ruth K. Westheimer


A Blueprint for the 21st Century
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 Dr. Ruth takes on Dan Quayle and the politics of ``family values'' with a spirited book that packs the straightforward, common-sense punch she is noted for. Best known as the dispenser of honest advice on sex (Heavenly Sex, 1995, etc.) and relationships between men and women, Dr. Ruth and her coauthor Yagoda (Will Rogers, 1993) examine the families that grow out of those relationships. She agrees wholeheartedly that the American family is not what it was, but she sees in a more optimistic light than many observers the new networks of blended families, extended families, families that include gay couples or are headed by single mothers or fathers. Putting a positive spin on virtually every aspect of the family values debate, from orphanages (they foster a ``tremendous sense of belonging'') to divorce (it has ``created a kind of new extended family''), Westheimer also refuses to let ``declining family values'' take the blame for such events as the Los Angeles riots and the high teenage birth rate. She notes sensibly that falling employment, the rising cost of living, and other social factors (like women in the workplace) are forcing families to adapt. She argues that families could use a lot more help from government and business, and offers resources (including Internet addresses) likely to be of help to contemporary families. What gives this volume impact is the breadth of Dr. Ruth's personal experience (she lived in group homes, became pregnant out of wedlock, married, divorced her husband, and supported her daughter as a single mother) and the succinct and sensible marshalling of material. Dr. Ruth's advice on sex has helped create new ideas about relationships; this feisty work may help stiffen the spines of the inventive men and women who are now trying to redefine the American family. (Author tour; TV satellite tour)

Pub Date: July 19th, 1996
ISBN: 0-446-51875-1
Page count: 224pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1996

Kirkus Interview
Ruth K. Westheimer
June 9, 2015

Everyone knows Dr. Ruth as the most famous and trusted sex therapist, but few people know she narrowly escaped death from the Holocaust, was raised in an orphanage in Switzerland, or that she was a sniper during Israel's War of Independence. After years spent as a student in Paris, Dr. Ruth came to America dreaming of a new life though never expecting the dramatic turns that would take place. And at the age of 87, she is as spirited as ever. In the intimate and funny stories in her new memoir The Doctor Is In: Dr. Ruth on Love, Life, and Joie de Vivre, shows readers how they too can learn to deal with tragedy and loss, challenges and success, all while nourishing an intellectual and emotional spark. “Her warmth, wit, and wisdom shine through this lively account of a life well-lived,” our reviewer writes. “A joy for her many fans, old and new.” View video >


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