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Fatherless Women


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Table of Contents

Introduction. After Daddy. Reconciling Visions. Fatherless Girls. Time for Mourning. Connecting with a Mate. Marriages in Transition. Babies and Mortgages. Mothers and Daughters. Work and Self-Image. When Lives Do Not Change. The Journey Over Time. Postscript. Acknowledgments. Recommended Reading. Bibliography. Index.

About the Author

CLEA SIMON writes a weekly column for the Boston Globe and is also the author of Mad House: Growing Up in the Shadow of Mentally Ill Siblings and The Feline Mystique: On the Mysterious Connection Between Women and Cats. A former public radio correspondent, she has appeared on MSNBC, Fox, and PBS, and regularly contributes to the New York Times and various magazines.


Boston Globe journalist Simon draws on her own experiences, as well as those of women she has interviewed, to examine the relationship between father and daughter and the changes that occur when a father dies. Although interesting for its personal insights and backed by the interviews and a bibliography, this is not a scholarly work and should be read as the author's personal reflections. Chapters explore the grief process and the life changes that can follow, affecting marriages, work choices, and bonds between mothers and daughters. Readers are also shown the complexity of father-daughter relationships and how daughters learn to reconcile sometimes opposing influences after a father's death. Because the author was 31 when her father died and her interviewees were mostly in their twenties, thirties, and forties, many of the emotional changes cited here could have come about simply as a part of maturation. Those who lose their fathers very early in life, as well as the 50 percent who lose them after they turn 50, would probably not experience a father's death in the same way. Suitable for large public libraries. Kay Brodie, Chesapeake Coll., Wye Mills, MD Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

When fathers die, says Simon (Mad House), a Boston Globe journalist, their daughters may experience crucial changes in their lives. Some will feel freed of their father's expectations and strictures. Some will want to have a baby. Some will already have worked out their issues with their dads years earlier and will simply feel grief at the loss of a parent. Some will forge a whole new relationship with their mother, if she's still living. Everything is possible, and may depend on the daughter's sexuality and age, on whether the parents were divorced or unhappy with each other. Or none of these things may happen, or if they do, they may not depend on the aforementioned factors. Such rampant indeterminacy is meant to sound embracing and supportive; instead, it reads like equivocal psychobabble. Despite plenty of valid and judicious observations ("When we lose a parent, we move up a step in the generational hierarchy"), the narrative feels flat and unsubstantiated. Simon writes mostly based on her own experience of her father's death and has also talked to friends and read some popular psychology books on fathers and daughters and on death and grieving. Her friends' experiences are used to illustrate some of the ways paternal death affects daughters, while experts are invoked to give the book some clout. (Oct.) Forecast: Too anecdotal to pass as scholarship, and too dull for popular appeal, this book will need a lot of big-name endorsements before anyone's going to buy it for herself or a grieving girlfriend, the only conceivable market for this strangely unaffecting volume. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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