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The Shelter of Each Other by Mary Pipher
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's review
Jul 16, 11

bookshelves: favorites, nonfiction
Read in July, 2011

This is a must-read for families.

Although this was written in the 90s, I think it's even more relevent today. Pipher says that in a deteriorating society, we all need to find shelter within our families. She compares her mother's family in the 1920s-30s to a family she helps in couseling in the 90s. Her mother's family had no money, but plenty of time. The 90s family had plenty of money, but no time. Her mother's family's problems were external: natural disasters, economic depression, crop failure. The 90s family's problems were internal: eating disorders, drug problems, insecurities. Pipher says when families properly define an external enemy to unite against, they are stronger as a family unit. She talks about a family who had a child with Down syndrome. That family united against unkindness and misunderstanding, and they were strong.

There are so many things I loved within "The Shelter of Each Other," but I'll just pick one more thing to include:

She talks about why people are more obsessed with looks now than they have been in the past. Back then, the communities were closer and people came in contact with fewer people. Now, communities are bigger and the number of people we pass during the day is much greater: "Demographic shifts explain much of our obsession with looking good. As we’ve moved from primary to secondary relationships, appearance has become much more important to us. In an earlier time, we had various kinds of information about the people we encountered. We knew their families, their house, their work habits, religion and amiability. Now often appearance is all we have to go on." (Page 85)
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