"[Includes] a take on just about every version of a newly extended family....Stellar."—Boston Globe
Eye-opening essays by esteemed writers about the rich and complicated lives of American stepfamilies: with the U.S. divorce rate hovering around 50 percent, most people recognize remarriage as a now-familiar occurrence. And remarriage often means stepfathers, -mothers, -brothers, and -sisters, and the formation of a new type of blended family. Jacquelyn Mitchard, Barbara Kingsolver, Roxana Robinson, Susan Cheever, and others share experiences of being stepdaughters, stepmothers, or ex-wives. Andrew Solomon writes about his relationship with his stepmother. Kate Christensen celebrates the stepfather who brought guidance to her life. There are essays from writers in the same family, each with a different take on his or her postnuclear situation: Phyllis Rose discusses her second husband's qualities as a stepfather, while her son, Ted Rose, writes about his tumultuous relationship with his stepbrother from his own father's remarriage. These poignant, heartfelt, sometimes biting tales remind us of the outdated myth of the perfect nuclear family while shedding light on what it means to forge relationships with stepfamily members.
"Eloquent, often deeply moving testimonials to the trials and rewards, the unanticipated emotions and unexpected self-discoveries that may await steppeople....An unmistakable, unapologetic warts-and-all rebuke to the lecturing legions of busybody marriage fetishists and anti-divorce activists: Step happens."—Elle
"Enticing....Certain to stir discussion and deserving of a wide readership, this book reveals the human side of the ever-changing idea of family."—Library Journal
"Each group of stepparents, ex-spouses and newly mixed stepsiblings is unhappy in its own way, and Burt's collection of essays illuminates this brilliantly."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
Anne Burt's writing has appeared in publications including Salon and Parenting. She was awarded Meridian Literary Magazine's 2002 Editors Prize in fiction. She lives with her husband, daughter, and stepdaughter in Montclair, New Jersey.