THE CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN FAMILY by William J. -- Ed. Goode

THE CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN FAMILY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Mommy, Daddy, and a boy for you and a girl for me -- the Norman Rockwell, Saturday Evening Post family portrait is going out of focus in the age of Women's Lib, the ""microutopia"" of the hippie-style commune and a divorce counselor who will make it a ""creative rather than a destructive experience."" Columbia sociologist Goode, who edited this generally platitudinous collection of New York Times magazine pieces, is also the most venturesome contributor predicting ""tar more hostility against men"" in the future, an increasing amount of sexual conflict among the elderly, and the obsolescence of ""the notion of exclusivity or that of stability"" in marriage. Others are less daring. There is a sprinkling of statistics: 93% of all women marry at least once; there are 2.5 as many interracial marriages today as in the 1930's; divorce rates are not soaring but holding steady. Dr. Spock, ""almost endless adolescence,"" and the exaltation of romantic love are deemed uniquely American family characteristics. Middle-class, WASPy norms assert themselves through the sociological neuter -- e.g. black matriarchs are evidence for ""the Negro family's enduring sickness"" -- and there are standard laments: ""among the major curses of our society is the thinness of family emotional relationships."" You may lament that you already knew this from Joyce Brothers, your hippie daughter and personal observation; in any case, it's nothing new and surely not 'contemporary' -- several selections date back to the 1950's.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1971
Publisher: Quadrangle