Mary’s Musings about reading, reviewing, and random passing thoughts that come at me every day when I think about books and life.
Today I am musing about families, birth order, and changing your destiny. I started all this musing after I read the latest book from Claire LaZebnik FAMILIES AND OTHER NONRETURNABLE GIFTS.
(Review is below and click the link to give me a helpful vote).
I am a die-hard believer in two things about families: your personality is formed by where you are in the birth order and you cannot change your family you can alter the you and the role you play in the family dynamics. This book touches on family dynamics, family drama, and how each of us thrives and survives.
My family is outright crazy and completely out of control. I have three siblings and the four of us were raised by a mother who had been a doted on only child. Her every whim and desire was taken care of while she was growing up which created this narcissistic woman that had no idea what to do with four children, let alone one (me) that was shy and very emotionally needy and yes I fully admit to it.
|Middle Sister Wine|
What I was though, is not who I am (well a little of the Drama Queen is there) because while I fit the role of the middle sister growing up I also broke away from that role as an adult. Now I carried the “take care of everyone” into my late 30’s and then while raising my children said enough of this crap I can have my own life and basically distanced myself for over 10 years from them. I came to terms with my mother’s emotional distance and achieved success on my own and have been the better for all of it. I have a wide variety of friends who fill every void my family leaves and then some so life is not always great but it can be pretty good.
I am proud to announce that Grand Center “Forever” Publishing is giving away one copy of this book (review below and click the link to cast your helpful vote). To be eligible to win please leave a comment. What I am asking today is do you believe? Come back on Sunday – September 4th to see if you have won. Please remember if you do not come back, you will not know if you won, because I am going to need your address.
REVIEW from Mary Gramlich "The Reading Reviewer"
FAMILIES AND OTHER NONRETURNABLE GIFTS by Claire LaZebnik
09/11- Grand Central Publishing - Paperback, 304 pages
Is our personality determined due to birth order?
We all play a specific role in family dynamics whether we admit to it or not. Surviving the landscape of competitive family relationships, overcoming disappointment and jealousy is like walking on a minefield. You are placed by birth order in a position to control, submit, surrender, or dominate and some accept this as destiny while others break out and completely upset the familial apple cart.
Keats Sedlak has always filled her role as destiny preordained but now she is watching her family meltdown as her parent parents’ divorce, her father’s mortality becomes very apparent, and the family home goes on the selling block. Keats has always had to live up to unattainably high standards with academic parents and siblings that blow her intellectually out of the water but this is perhaps one shove too many. Everyone seems to know what Keats should be doing with her life, and what will fulfill her need for growth personally. They tell her constantly that the man she has been with for 10 years is not good enough for her and their relationship a tad creepy since he is five years older and they started dating when she was 15 stunting her ability to explore other relationships.
Keats has spent her life searching for something to fill the void that distant parents and self-consumed siblings were never able to while at the same time make her own achievements, not an easy task. She thought her boyfriend had taken over her emotional losses but now everything has the potential to be flushed down the toilet and Keats is deciding what stays and what is gone.
If you stand still long enough and do not physically remove yourself from the situation you are in everything will remain as much the same as it does change. You have to be prepared for the ramifications and Keats thinks she is as she prepared to make major life-altering decisions that will affect everyone and not all of them in a positive fashion. So as Keats learns to accept her mother as a single woman on the prowl, her father’s judgmental assessments, and her siblings’ self-effacing personalities she is also ready to accept the fear and loneliness that comes from decisions and alterations to life’s grand scheme of things.
This is a well-written book with a fine-tuned sense of how complicated your family dynamics are and points out you are stuck with them forever so deal with it. You cannot rewrite the past, make your parent act less crazy, or walk away from any of their crap regardless of how many times you try. Everyone else’s life looks normal and so much better than yours when you are on the sidewalk looking in watching them decorate the Christmas tree. You have to make your presence known and accept your role but also expand your existence and at some point put the baggage on wheels. It will be much easier to carry around and on occasionally dump off, I know of what I speak.