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The Family In Trouble


Christopher Benfey is Professor Emeritus and the Acting Director of the Weissman Center for Leadership at Mount Holyoke College. A well-regarded scholar of 19th and 20th century American literature, he has authored 5 books including If: The Untold Story of Kipling's American Years (2019); A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art, and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Martin Johnson Heade (2009); The Great Wave: Gilded Age Misfits, Japanese Eccentrics, and the Opening of Old Japan (2003), Degas in New Orleans (1997); and The Double Life of Stephen Crane (1992). A family memoir, Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay; Reflections on Art, Family, and Survival was published in 2012, and his poems have appeared in The New Yorker, the Paris Review, and Ploughshares. Benfey frequently contributes as a literary and art critic to publications such as The New York Review of Books, and The New York Times Book Review.

Whenever a memoirist gives a reading, someone in the audience is sure to ask: How did your family react Revisiting our pasts and exploring our experiences, we often reveal more of our nearest and dearest than they might prefer. This volume navigates the emotional and literary minefields that any writer of family stories or secrets must travel when depicting private lives for public consumption.

Essays by twenty-five memoirists, including Faith Adiele, Alison Bechdel, Jill Christman, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Rigoberto González, Robin Hemley, Dinty W. Moore, Bich Minh Nguyen, and Mimi Schwartz, explore the fraught territory of family history told from one perspective, which, from another angle in the family drama, might appear quite different indeed. In her introduction to this book, Joy Castro, herself a memoirist, explores the ethical dilemmas of writing about family and offers practical strategies for this tricky but necessary subject.

A sustained and eminently readable lesson in the craft of memoir, Family Trouble serves as a practical guide for writers to find their own version of the truth while still respecting family boundaries.

In addition to the changes in family structure that have occurred over the past several decades, family life has been greatly affected by the movement of more and more mothers into the workforce. This increase in labor force participation is a continuation of a century-long trend; rates of labor force participation among married women, particularly married white women, have been on the rise since at least the turn of the 20th century. While the labor force participation rates of mothers have more or less leveled off since about 2000, they remain far higher than they were four decades ago.

If you don't have cash you're able to give or loan to your financially-strapped family member, realize that your time, patience and ability to help them brainstorm and problem solve are also valuable assets you can provide.

If you use Family Sharing and purchase sharing is turned on, the family organizer's payment method is charged for all family members' purchases. If you're the family organizer and you or a family member can't make purchases, change your payment method.

Marriage problems vary in complexity. You can solve most marriage trouble without help from a professional counselor. However some situations indicate you should consider guidance from an expert.

Ask other couples what it took to build a strong and successful relationship and move beyond marriage troubles. Rest assured that their strong marriages did not develop overnight. They experienced some of the same problems you have. One reason their marriages are strong today is that they were committed to the idea that no matter what obstacles they faced, they would learn to manage their problems and overcome crises on an ongoing basis.

Though problems such as those described above are common in marriage, they can become extreme in a short time. If you think your marriage is in trouble and th


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