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The Perfect Sister
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About the Author

MARCIA MILLMAN, social psychologist and professor of sociology at the University of California-Santa Cruz, is author of the bestseller Such a Pretty Face: Being Fat in America, Warm Hearts and Cold Cash, and The Unkindest Cut. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area and New York.

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In this gentle and engaging study, social psychologist Millman explores adult sisterhood's difficulties and joys. She proposes that the words "what drives us apart" in the book's subtitle refer to "failing to see the person who is actually there," relating to an "Imagined Sister... the sister we wish for." "What draws us together" pertains to acknowledging "our Real Sister," who "might be a wonderful person or a terrible one." Millman divides her book into three sections: sisters who nurture each other, sisters who have troubled relationships and sisters who have found a way to heal their difficult relationships late in life. She interviewed women from various locations and socio-economic classes, and, when possible, several sisters from one family, revealing how sisters who grew up together may have completely different perceptions of their family. Although Millman's premise is simple, her conclusions are nuanced and unique to each family. She intimately shares her musings, her style more like a friendly conversation than a sociological study. Women trying to resolve problems with their sisters will glean insights from this study, and, as sisterly relations turn out inevitably to be entwined with mothers, fathers, brothers, aunts and grandparents, the book will also interest women who are trying to understand and come to terms with their entire families, not just sisters. Emphasizing the unique value of sisterly love, Millman warmly encourages both her subjects and readers who may have family difficulties to "make amends." Agent, Sandra Dijkstra. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Social psychologist and professor of sociology Millman (Such a Pretty Face; The Unkindest Cut) recognized sisterhood as a seldom-explored area and thus decided to study how sisters relate to one another in adulthood. Here, she highlights her findings after open-ended interviews with 100 sisters, mostly in their forties and fifties. Her book is divided into two major sections: "The Real Sister," which focuses on sisters who mainly see each other as they really are and have positive relationships, and "The Imagined Sister," which focuses on troubled sister relationships. Millman has written a fascinating account that certainly can be used as a starting point for other researchers. However, it lacks a complete record of interviews, gives the reader no way to replicate Millman's findings, and would have benefited from bibliographical notes or a reference bibliography. Even with these weaknesses, this book makes a good start in identifying an important area of study, and perhaps future research can validate Millman's views. Recommended for public and college libraries. Kay Brodie, Chesapeake Coll., Wye Mills, MD Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"Marcia Millman is one of the most talented observers of intimate life of our time. She brings to mind Herbert Gans or Studs Terkle: like these gifted interviewers, she gives us her fine insights but lets her subject's story and humanity directly touch the reader. Sisters will and should devour this book; those of us who are sister-deprived will find out fascinating and touching details about family life and women who share blood, history, and personal growth through their connection with one another."--Pepper Schwartz, author of" Everything You Know About Love and Sex is Wrong"

PRAISE FOR THE PERFECT SISTER
"Absolutely riveting and fascinating." - CAROLYN SEE, THE WASHINGTON POST

PRAISE FOR THE PERFECT SISTER
"Absolutely riveting and fascinating." - CAROLYN SEE, THE WASHINGTON POST

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