Original Kin: The Search for Connection Among Adult Sisters and Brothers

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9780452273771: Original Kin: The Search for Connection Among Adult Sisters and Brothers

This groundbreaking study of adult sibling relationships disputes age-old beliefs about rivalry and birth order and explores the hidden strengths of the brother-sister bond. Sandmaier closes with a powerful message of hope and a wealth of practical strategies for sustaining emotional ties with our siblings.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A moving study of the dynamics of sibling relationships. Sandmaier's latest (The Invisible Alcoholics, 1980, etc.) should help revise our understanding of the role siblings play in personal development, as the author points out that siblings can be as important as parents in determining everything from future relationships to physical health and even longevity. The study she offers here of both the technical and general literature on sibling relationships is humanized by interviews with hundreds of people about their relations with their brothers and sisters. Sandmaier investigates the often overlooked meanings that gender holds for brothers and sisters; includes interesting evidence of the effect of ethnicity and nationality on sibling relationships (WASPS are much less comfortable around their siblings than are African- Americans); and provides well-chosen examples, from literature and literary lives, of the complexities and wonders of sibling relationships. Theoretically minded readers will appreciate the author's emphasis on the constructedness of such relationships, and the consequent possibility that--rather than being innate or predetermined--they can be changed. There are quibbles--Sandmaier fails, for example, in her claim for the consistency of findings in birth order studies--but her analysis for the most part is striking and even inspired. Necessarily, this is a study also about parents- -both abusive ones and successful--and prospective parents will benefit from it. It closes with encouraging but not treacly advice for those interested in improving relationships with siblings. In its eloquence, evenhandedness, and common sense, a book that rises heads and shoulders above the general run of pop-psych material. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

Relationships are always more complicated and mysterious than the bent offerings of TV talk shows, no more so than with the people we've known the longest: our siblings. For the sane segment of society, seeking to understand instead of exploit, Sandmaier presents a rounded view of the issues. Based on interviews with 80 people (most in the 30 to 40 age range), her text examines three general areas: a single sibling pair; the combinations of bro-bro, sis-sis, and bro-sis; and lastly, her own family. Behind each case lurks that tribal memory of slights, helps, hurts, and loves, and Sandmaier plays the individual melodies against the main theme rather well. A popularizer and not a clinician, she still displays a familiarity with scholarly insights; readers weary of the Geraldo-ization of family matters should be grateful for this more realistic look at the clan. Gilbert Taylor

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Sandmaier, Marian
Published by Plume 1995-02-01 (1995)
ISBN 10: 0452273773 ISBN 13: 9780452273771
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Sandmaier, Marian
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