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Why Do I Love These People?: Understanding, Surviving, and Creating Your Own Family

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  852 Ratings  ·  155 Reviews
We all have an imaginary definition of a great family. We imagine what it would be like to belong to such a family. No fights over the holidays. No getting on one another’s nerves. Respect for individual identity. Mutual support, without being intrusive. So many people believe they are disqualified from having a better family experience, primarily because they compare thei ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published February 25th 2009 by Random House (first published November 15th 2005)
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Jan 12, 2009 Shelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bev, Sherrie, Paula, Kim
Recommended to Shelly by: B&N
Shelves: non-fiction, own
I don't give many 5-star ratings but I believe this book deserves it for one simple reason: It seems the author has done a fantastic job commenting on Family without the benefit of The Plan of Happiness in his arsenal. The first chapter alone made me realize what a small bubble of life I live in and how grateful I am for the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I didn't truly connect, until this book, with how many thousands of people are in the world struggling with the issue of family without the ...more
Nov 18, 2008 'stina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished Po Bronson's Why Do I Love These People? over the weekend. It was a fairly quick read about 19 families. Divorce, death, different cultures, keeping in touch, pushing away. The book sort of discusses how families stick together, make it work. It's looking from both the point of view of the family that you came from and the family that you're making.

I think the main thing that I came away with from the book is that over the last 150 years or so, we've been given a lot more choice in h
I enjoyed hearing different stories with the central theme of family and overcoming difficulty. I didn't always love the people though. A few of them struck me as essentially selfish and definitely not someone I'd want to be like (for example the woman who asked her husband if she could have an affair because she was bored). The author's constant interjections with philosophical mumbo-jumbo got a little annoying by the end. But on a positive note, I did hear some great stories, such as when the ...more
Jan Pliler
Jan 18, 2011 Jan Pliler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the only thing I would have suggested the author do differently is take the stories from the last half of the book and put them first. They carried a different kind of heartache, in my opinion. My mood shifted to a darker side reading the 2nd half, even though the individuals still worked out their results, it was a more challenging portion to feel inspired by at times, in my opinion.

This book is equivalent to traveling. It exposes your understanding to so many other facets of life that people
Sep 09, 2007 Lily is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
In December I was having a tough time figuring out what direction to go with my life. So my sister threw Po Bronson's book, "What Should I Do With My Life?" at me for some encouragement. I can't say that it really did much to drive me, but I enjoyed reading about people's career paths. When I saw that Po had written a book about families, I thought I would give it a read because I spend a lot of time thinking about my family....sort of trying to figure us all out now that I think about it! I gen ...more
Catherine Stark
Jul 30, 2008 Catherine Stark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Friends & family
Recommended to Catherine by: randomly came across on internet
If you ever questioned, "why did I have to belong to this family", read this book and embrace the amazing stories, I think it will make even the most cynical individual realize how important it may be to, accept and appreciate the family we came from.
"That which does not kill you makes you stronger"
Apr 09, 2008 Steven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suburban-angst
I will admit that like others on this site, I was initially attracted to this book based upon the title. Being from a large and close Italian family, there are times when I ask the question posed by this book, and of course the only answer is that because they are family.

This book chronicles the struggles of 19 families and the various difficulties they have, especially in the realm of communication. I guess it is also not surprising to learn that there is really no “normal” family, and it is no
Apr 28, 2010 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help, parenting
I finally finished this book and loved it! It has 19 stories in it all about different families. I enjoyed the stories very much and learned something from each. Each story begins with a question and it is beneficial to ponder each of those questions.

Some things I wrote down while I read:

All people have something to show us. Family is our common ground.

If you want to define family, then define a better family. The test is not whether we have problems, but how we deal with them.

Physical affection
Mar 20, 2009 Allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Po Bronson's style is that of offering wisdom through the anecdotes of everyday people and their struggles with their families. He doesn't come right out and offer advice; rather, he creates an empathetic connection with the reader. Reading this book makes one realize that everyone experiences similar challenges in their familial relationships, even the author, and can offer inspiration to improve upon those relationships in one's own life.
Oct 26, 2016 Alissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting look at families from all over the world with all kinds of problems and situations and how they have made their family situation work for them. It's inspiring to see what people have gone through and what the bonds of love and family inspire them to do.
Feb 02, 2011 Farah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. Each chapter focuses on a relationship between two family members. The author is able to get to the truth between them in a way that is meaningful and deep and seems to apply to my own life even though their circumstances don't necessarily mirror mine.
Apr 16, 2013 Cleokatra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This was a good book. It took me a while to get through it because it's an easy book to walk away from and then pick up again. I don't have a good relationship with my family. This book doesn't change that. It did help me understand why things are the way they are though.
Shraddha Nyati
Mar 16, 2017 Shraddha Nyati rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Give them a chance,
They may not ask for more;
Let the whirls make the ship dance,
Who knows nearby may be the shore.
“Why do I love these people?” is one the rarest books which turned into a self-help book without claiming to be one. I am a reader of all kinds of book, and have discarded a lot of self-help and spiritual books as being too hypothetical and not-applicable-in-real-world-scenarios.
Reading through a lot makes you half a psychologist where you can ignore regular books and people’s advice
Jessie Young
Dec 21, 2014 Jessie Young rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked Po Bronson's "What should I do with my life?", and when I heard that this book was a similar style, I knew I would enjoy it.

This is one of those books that you not only read, but are constantly quoting and paraphrasing to friends while you are reading it and long after, as well. The stories are somewhat memorable but even more memorable is the feeling it leaves you with: families are hard. you are normal. just keep going.

Favorite bits:

“The last book I wrote was about our individual journ
Dec 19, 2009 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Megan by: Holly, Shawn
This book wasn't a gripping read, but it certainly made me think about a lot of things in my own family (and other's), and I appreciated the lessons I gleaned. I'm glad I read it. It substantiated my belief that everyone has a compelling story to tell.

I loved the story of Steve and JoJo. Steve, a loner, marries into a HUGE Filipino family and becomes enmeshed in it. I related to it because that's how my husband felt when he married me. He has a total of 6 cousins on both sides of his family, so
Feb 25, 2011 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This scores four stars and a "highly recommended" rating because the stories of the families Bronson interviews are fascinating, genuine, and instructive in their own way. There is an incredible diversity of experience here that is hard to find in similar projects. The book is at its best when Bronson lets these stories flow on their own, without interjecting his own commentary, and fortunately that's what happens for most of the book.

The problem is when Bronson does inject his own commentary, o
Jul 24, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admire the outstanding premise of this book: how do families adapt and change and most importantly, thrive, after big challenges like divorce, loss of a child, and immigration to a new country when parent and child end up with such different points-of-view?

Mr. Bronson tells the story of nineteen different families from different countries (all having ended up in the West or are living in the West). Each family has faced a different challenge. For example, how does a Northern Ireland couple of
Nov 29, 2008 Sally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 14, 2009 Walter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a good book, uneven in spots, but, on the whole, strong. The vast majority of the stories of the people featured are instructive and inspiring ... and it's clear why they were included. So, I recommend this book, including because this book reminds us that family is an elastic, idiosyncratic concept, that we are free to craft a personalized arrangement that works for us (even if it doesn't conform to the supposed norm).

Following on the breakaway success of What Should I Do With My Life?,
Nov 09, 2009 Shawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of short accounts of other people's families and how people have found harmony despite vastly different life experiences has some moments that really ring true. In general I liked the book, but, like almost every book of short stories I have read, it was forgettable for me. Of the 20 stories I could probably list off maybe 10 of them right now, and I just read it over the last few weeks. Still, I liked Bronson's self awareness and appreciated the glimpses into the lives of others ...more
Sep 14, 2008 sleeps9hours rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love Po Bronson. He wanted to explore resilient individuals—those who came from problematic families, but got through them stronger for it. His method intrigued me. He got leads on over 700 people, narrowed it down to 200 who fit his criteria, narrowed them down to 40 by trying to ignore and forget them and sticking with those whose stories were so compelling he couldn’t, then doing extensive phone and in-person interviews with them and their families/friends, even consulting about their stories ...more
I've read a total of three Po Bronson books- I liken him to Mitch Albom, John Grogan and the whole Chicken Soup for Soul series- he's not entirely mundane. There is something about intruding on a family's troubles, putting it into print and then profiting from it that requires a little more tact than Bronson sometimes presents. I think it's a noble attempt at gathering stories and information about a large number of families who need to express what makes their story unique, I also think an edit ...more
May 25, 2011 Kendra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Not having had much of a family compass growing up, this book inspires - narratives about different people and families tell me that, yes, it's true, there are amazing families out there whose stories blow me away, but then prompting reflection and a thorough examination of the things that make my own family unique, once completely under the authority of shame, I now see an interesting story. I don't think I would have enjoyed this book nearly so much had I picked it up before spending a year an ...more
Nov 12, 2016 Alyson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, bookclub
This book is a series of short stories about a variety of individuals and how they define family. There were so many unique stores within the book. We had a great discussion at book club. It was a good reminder that families look different for everyone. Some stories stood out more than others, but I understand that is how the author put the book together. I was told that he interviewed dozens of individuals and then set the interviews aside and waited a time to see which stories he remembered th ...more
Jan 11, 2008 Bethany rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is an “inspirational” book. (The quotation marks are intentional…) I was not particularly inspired by it, though I’m sure it is intended to do so. It is, however, fascinating to read Bronson’s collection of stories from and about families.

My personal favorite involved a Caucasian man whose only immediate - and extended - family was his mom and step-sister. He married a Filipino girl, who (if you know Filipinos, you understand) had hundreds of relatives just in the United States. He met her
Jan 12, 2009 Crystal rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
meh. it was okay. nothing as rapturous as my enjoyment of What Should I Do with My Life, probably due to the fact that this time around his purpose/ thesis was much less defined. He admitted himself several times throughout the book that he struggled knowing what to include/ what his purpose was, and it showed. Plus, in expounding on his opinions about family and what it means, he got kinda preachy.
on the other hand, it wasn't a bad book, and I really enjoyed a few of the stories. it was especi
Deirdre Keating
Not a huge fan of Po Bronson in the past, but interested in this book. Isn't the title basically the question of most great novels? Especially as a mother of young children, I find it fascinating to listen to my friends describe their families and how eager they were to get as far away as possible from them, but none of us know exactly what we will do differently so that our children might feel differently as adults.

Is the circle inevitable?

Also liked this idea in the reviews, that you shouldn't
Family and their dynamics are endlessly fascinating to me. This book was interesting but not compelling. It tells the tales, struggles and triumphs of 19 different families asking a question to the reader before each chapter. It's a great book to have on hand in case you're waiting for an appointment and have a few minutes; as you could finish a full story quickly. I think, for me, I would have gleaned more from the stories if they had gone further in depth. Each story seemed to wrap up so neatl ...more
Jeanine Marie Swenson

Creative, introspective, and heartfelt, author Po Bronson re-tells 18 multicultural stories with family and universal lessons at the core. Developing his main theme that "creating families of our own involves both building with new people and changing the relationships we have to those we've grown up with," Bronson constructs themes that highlight caring, relationships, community and family at the foundation. I loved the nonmaterialistic and collective messages about relationships as a life-givi
Mar 26, 2013 Converse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I found most interesting was Bronson's approach. He interviewed many people, almost all Americans, but of both sexes, and with enough ethnic and racial diversity to make it interesting. Some were wealthy or became so, others not so. Some had challenging lives growing up, others experienced challenges raising their children. Others had difficult relationships with their parents. He is a great story teller. I can't say that I relate to the stories well, become the feelings of distance or indi ...more
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Po Bronson has built a career both as a successful novelist and as a prominent writer of narrative nonfiction. He has published five books, and he has written for television, magazines, and newspapers, including Time, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and for National Public Radio's Morning Edition. Currently he is writing regularly for New York magazine in the United States and for ...more
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