Unification News for September 1998

Book review: The Shelter of Each Other, Rebuilding Our Families by Mary Pipher, Ph.D. $12.95

reviewed by Cathi Close-Arlington, VA

In The Shelter of Each Other, Mary Pipher does for the American family what she did for adolescent girls and their parents in her best-selling book Reviving Ophelia: she opens our eyes wide to the desperate realities we are facing and shows us a way out.

Drawing on the fascinating stories of families rich and poor, angry and despairing, religious and skeptical, and probing deep into her own family memories and experiences, Pipher clears a path to the strength and energy at the core of family life.

"A canny mix of optimism and practicality gives Pipherís fans a way to resist the worst of the culture around them and substitute the best of themselves." Newsweek

"Using her analytical and story-telling skills, Pipher lays out the cultural, technological and economic forces that are tearing families apart and creating a crisis of meaning and values in the society as a whole .... The Shelter of Each Other generates a feeling of warmth and a sense of possibility that families need not be doomed. What families need today, Pipher says, is hope -and her book succeeds in showing how to build it." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is trying to make more sense out of the struggles we experience in the context of our families (doesnít that include us all?). Itís honest and I like that. Just as much as we need high ideals to strive for and work toward, we also need frankness and honesty. Without micro-analyzing our pasts, we still need to understand where we are coming from and why we are the way we are.

Mary Pipher attempts to do this and, in my opinion, does a very good job of it. We are living in a culture that offers the potential for the best and the worst of possibilities. This book is encouraging reinforcement toward what we all hope to achieve. Family love and unity. Easier said than done, Iím sure we agree, so the more help we can get, the better. Some books are food for the soul, this one is nourishment for our families and one that offers what we need most, hope.

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