Jane Mersky Leder
Publish Date: 11/22/2015
A conversational, interactive look at the power of siblings and how they shape who, why and what we are.
“Sensitively written, valuable addition to the family psychology field.”
“A realistic approach to exploring and understanding the influences of the sibling bond and why we keep being drawn back to it.” –Science News
“A thoughtful addition to a growing field of interest.” –Booklist
“Truly refreshing to come upon a book that explores new territory and offers valuable insights. . . .” –Heritage Sunday News Tribune
I am indebted to the handful of researchers who have made the stuff of sibling relationships their lives’ work, many of whom patiently and expertly answered my questions and encouraged me to carry on. To the many brothers and sisters who trusted me enough to listen to their stories and to retell them, I am deeply grateful. You made me laugh and cry and stand in awe of the power of the sibling connection and how it shapes our lives across the life span. And to my own siblings and all that they have taught me about this special, complicated, and ever-changing connection.
Starting with the jolt of her opening sentences, Jane Leder takes us on an eye-opening tour of the rich, confusing, and often painful world of siblings. Because sibling relationships are rarely talked about in any depth, most of us grope for words to describe our emotions; about brothers and sisters we are strangely inarticulate. I have never met a person who would not want to improve a stale or hurtful or confusing relationship with a sibling. This book repeatedly tells you that it’s never too late to learn about ourselves or to close the gap between our brothers, sisters, and ourselves.
Jane Leder speaks with wisdom gleaned from her own attempts to better her relationships within her family, yet her voice is disciplined and informed by the best available knowledge and speculation of social scientists and clinicians. The result is a rich tapestry, allowing many possibilities for the reader to see his/her own life’s sibling through a clearer lens.
As adults we are continually trying to understand why we are, how we are, and the way we are. Our siblings are important mirrors for identity, and Jane Leder has written in a way that provides such a mirror for anyone who wants to connect with personal experience. In this sense, I hope that this will do for the reader what Gail Sheehy’s Passages did for our ability to understand ourselves at midlife.
Sibling relationships are life’s longest-lasting family relationships. The sibling bond can be both mysterious and unconscious. The Sibling Connection unveils the mystery and brings to awareness the feelings and forces that can help to make us more human, less ashamed, and more able to take advantage of the possibilities of being a brother or a sister.
Stephen P. Bank, Ph.D., A.B.P.P., adjunct professor, Wesleyan University; coauthor of The Sibling Bond; codirector of Bank and Hiebel Family and Child Associates
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