Published by: Free Press
Release Date: June 25, 2007
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All our lives, we seek affirmation and love from the people closest to us -- our parents and, later, our grown children. But too few of us get it. As adults, many of us feel that our aging parents still treat us like kids. As parents, many of us are sad that our adult children seem to have little use for us.
When Robert Kuttner and Sharland Trotter were writing Family Re-Union, many new empty-nesters told them, "I hope I have a better relationship with my kids than I did with my parents." Family Re-Union offers insights on how adults and their parents can cultivate new adult- to-adult lifelong connections and become deeper friends. It is the first book to explore this challenge over the entire life course -- from a teenager's departure for college to the impending death of an aging parent.
Kuttner, a well-known journalist, and Trotter, a clinical psychologist, conceived the book when their son had just gone off to college and their daughter was a junior in high school. The message of Family Re-Union is deepened by the unusual circumstances of its writing: a year into the work, Sharland Trotter learned she had cancer.
As Sharland deals with her illness and invites her family into her journey, the book takes on additional relevance for all those facing their own mortality -- whether prematurely or at the natural end of a long life span -- and seeking to repair family relationships. But Family Re-Union will prove indispensable for all adults, from the twenty-five-year-old who finds her parents overbearing, through the forty-year-old hoping to have a better relationship with his son than he had with his father, to the seventy-year-old trying to reconnect with a middle-aged daughter, and all steps in between. These are life stages we all encounter, and Family Re-Union offers hope that, no matter what our personal circumstances, it is never too late to create loving, respectful family ties.
"We spend only 18 years raising our children and the rest of life relating to them as adults. So why are the bookshelves toppling over with child-raising advice, while only a handful talk about our adult connections. Bob Kuttner and Sharland Trotter have written a personal, thoughtful, and much needed book about the family that we never outgrow."
—Ellen Goodman syndicated columnist and co-author of I Know Just What You Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women's Lives
"Family Re-Union is a book for our time — and a wise, humane, and wonderful one it is. It not only lays out the knotty intergenerational issues and conflicts that inevitably arise as parents and adult children move from one stage of life to another, but it offers important lessons in how to navigate them."
—Lillian B. Rubin, Ph.D. author of Tangled Lives: Daughters, Mothers, and the Crucible of Aging
"In this perceptive, moving, and wise book on the often battle-scarred bonds between parent and adult child, Bob Kuttner and his late wife Sharland Trotter combine therapeutic observation, moments in great literature, and glimpses into hilarious and sad episodes in their own lives. Especially poignant is Bob's description of how Sharland encountered her impending death from cancer in a way that both heightened and deepened her relations to those she loved. This isn't a book about having no problems. It's an emotionally brilliant book about seeing the worth in trying to work them out."
—Arlie Russell Hochschild author of The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work
"A poignant, thoughtful, and thought-provoking book, full of examples that will help parents of grown children find new ways of seeing and being in the family."
—Jon Kabat-Zinn author of Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life
"Family Re-Union is the ultimate in lifelong learning. A poignant and sage reflection, noble in its reach. It is a book for each family member, and for every family."
—James Carroll author of An American Requiem
"Kuttner and Trotter's work is a thoughtful rumination on the nature and intricacies of adult child and parent relationships."