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The Sister Knot

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About the Author

Terri Apter is a writer, psychologist, and Fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge University. Her books include The Sister Knot and What Do You Want from Me? She lives in Cambridge, England.


A Cambridge University tutor and prolific expert on parenting and women's relationships, Apter (The Myth of Maturity: What Teenagers Need from Parents To Become Adults) here makes a substantial contribution to the literature on sibling relationships and female friendships. Joining Juliet Mitchell's Siblings, Stephen P. Bank and Michael D. Kahn's The Sibling Bond, and Judy Dunn and Robert Plomin's Separate Lives: Why Siblings Are So Different, this insightful book sheds light on the dynamics of sisterhood by incorporating research from various perspectives, including feminist psychoanalysis, developmental psychology, and popular sociology. Apter skillfully uncovers the complicated feelings inherent in sisterhood. Empathy and identity, protection and resentment, competition and friendship constitute the core of sisterly connections. Most of all, Apter captures the unique lifelong bond shared by sisters. Highly recommended for all public and academic collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/06.] Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law Lib., PA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"Terri Apter's fascinating study of sisters lays bare particular qualities in the sister relationship which are deftly summed up in the book's subtitle..." The Times Literary Supplement "...she is lucid, funny and illuminating on a subject that has been kept in the dark for much too long." The Sunday Times "Deftly combining the latest psychological thinking with real-life case studies, she captures both the love and the rivalry that many sisters share, as well as revealing the sister relationship to be far more complex than we might think." Psychologies"

Sisterly love, Apter (The Myth of Maturity) shows, isn't always pure: to differentiate herself from her older sister Sam, teenager Gina manipulated Sam into gaining weight; Kate's three sisters put aside jealousies and power plays to rally around her after she was raped; and Dorri wrongly accused her lesbian sister, Annette, of having an affair with her husband because a teenage Annette used to steal Dorri's boyfriends. This generic study of the complex ties that bind sisters teaches us that a sister's death is one of the most difficult losses to overcome; women's friendships often mirror the sister bond in both pleasure and pain; elderly sisters provide each other with crucial psychological succor; adult women are passionately invested in their own versions of family stories; and female empathy, when viewed through the sister knot, is revealed as a complicated skill "used for control and denigration as often as for care and protection." Throughout, British psychologist Apter's stodgy prose is brightened by excerpts from interviews she conducted with 76 British and American sisters from 37 families; while her analyses are perceptive, she's also treading on familiar territory without the creativity displayed by a Deborah Tannen or Bruno Bettelheim. (Jan. 15) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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