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I have been reading and following Maggie Scarf's work for many years--so I was delighted to discover she has put out a new book on remarried families. She is one of the seminal writers in the area of marriage and families, coming to the subject not as a therapist but as a researcher who works with theories--but especially with interviewing many different kinds of families to discover the commonalities and solutions. Her work over time has developed enormously, and if you are in--or know of--a remarried (or blended) family, this is a seriously important work to read (listen to).
She begins the book by letting the reader know that ideas of Patricia Papernow are guiding her current research. These include her six ideas/stages that form the "architecture" of the new relationships, as they come together. She includes: 1.) Myths & fantasies, 2.) Stage of bewilderment, 3.) Awareness, 4.) Mobilization, 5.) Reorganization/restructuring, & 6.) Resolution.
Scarf considers many aspects of the ingredients of a newly formed family unit--such as parents' early childhood experiences, the experiences/expectations that arose from the previous marriage, the reality that step parents will not have the history/love for a step child that they have for their own child, the challenges of being what she calls the "insider/outsider" roles, and more.
Scarf has published major works over the years in which she interviewed, and wrote about, many couples & families trying to establish or reestablish themselves. In this book, she has revisited couples she interviewed then, to see how they had developed over time. However, this book also includes interviews with families she has met for the first time.
Her work is so excellent that it is hard to imagine better books to recommend to anyone dealing with couple and family issues (this is true for professionals and non-professionals both). I have heard Scarf speak before, and I don't understand why she (or the producer) felt the need for this book to be read by a narrator. However, Lisa Bunting does a very good job of reading at just the best pace, with good inflection. I so highly recommend this book! Scarf is always engaging in her presentation of useful information for families and couples!
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