Making wise partner choices--finding and keeping romantic love--is not magic, nor is the storybook love the stuff of real life. Romantic love is often an elusive, fragile, and tenuous state, difficult to maintain across years. The rates of divorce, re-divorce, relationship violence, and abuse today attest to the fact that Americans are failing at romantic love. For teenaged and adult children of divorce, romantic love is especially elusive. Because they have no road map of a satisfying, stable romantic relationship derived from their own parents, they are confused about what love is and tend to make poor partner choices. Borrowing heavily from popular culture for the unrealistic standards regarding love, they become disillusioned when their all-too-ordinary lovers don't measure up. Especially vulnerable to the problems their parents had, they tend to overreact in a similarly negative fashion and are all too ready to consider divorce when unhappiness strikes. In trying to halt intergenerational transmission of divorce, psychologist Piorkowski points out how American popular culture presents an over sexualized, explosive, and superficial version of romantic love that can't last. With this book, adult children of divorce can begin to recognize how they have been affected by familial experiences and develop a new, realistic map to provide directions for more fulfilling and enduring romantic relationships.
**This was difficult book for me to review, as I am not an adult child of divorce, my parents have been happily married for 35 years. In order to gain a better perspective on the book, I had a dear friend of mine, and also an adult child of divorce, write a guest review. The review of this book will include both of our perspectives***
I had a tough time with this book. The author has obviously devoted a lot of time and research on this topic, and I think some of her insights are quite valid, however, some of her core beliefs, I question. For example I think she significantly over demonized fairy tale romance, almost as if she is saying that a romantic relationship to have any romance or magic at all is totally and completely unrealistic. Again, I was lucky to have a great example of what marriage should be, and I think this is why my opinion on the book just doesn't cut it because I am not the intended audience whatsoever. With this in mind, let's hear from a person who is the intended audience, my friend, Jessie...
Dr. Piorkowski addresses this book to the adult children of divorce as a way to shed light on why they have a difficult time finding a satisfying love relationship. However, in reading the text, this book should have been written for all men and women seeking such a relationship. She spends several sections of the book addressing “romantic love,” which she often uses interchangeably with “love.” However, as she also clearly states, these two terms are very different. She addresses the problem adult children of divorce have with looking at love as it is in the movies, overly romanticized and unrealistic. I feel that this is a problem that all of society has, not just a problem that adult children of divorce have. Her biggest problem in her book is that all of her arguments for adult children of divorce being unable to find a satisfying love are arguments that could easily refer to the rest of the world, even those with happily married parents. In fact, some could argue that those with divorced parents could choose a life partner easier and with more satisfaction that one with happily married parents because they know and have observed how love and marriage is a fragile thing and without work it can fall apart. Those with married parents have only seen it work and possibly take that connection for granted and not realize how much work their parents put into their marriage to continue to make it last. One factor I wish Dr. Piorkowski would have addressed in all of her statistics and theories is how different it is for these adult children of divorce to find a satisfying love when abstaining from having sex until after marriage. Do they find their partner and marriage to be more fulfilling than those who did not wait? I think that is a major factor that should have been addressed, especially with the amount of time she spent writing about lack of intimacy. Another issue that I had was that the entire contents of the book was summarized by chapter in the introduction, making it difficult for one to want to continue to read the rest of the book. Overall, Dr. Piorkowski’s Adult Children of Divorce: Confused Love Seekers is a very intelligently written book (possibly more so than the average person would like) but her research seems a little contradictory and is obviously skewed to address her topic. After reading this book, I would rate it a 4, Borrow from a Friend.
Do you agree with my review? Do you think I am totally off base? Either way I'd love to hear from you, be sure to leave a comment and tell me how you feel!
***FTC Disclosure: This book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair review, no other compensation was given, all opinions are my own (and in this case Jessie's own too)***
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