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

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

by Po Bronson

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Pages: 400
Paperback
ISBN: 9780812972429






Available to Buy

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

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 their own family with the mythic ideal, and their reality falls short. Is that a fair standard to judge against?”

In the pages of Why Do I Love These People?, Po Bronson takes us on an extraordinary journey.

It begins on a river in Texas, where a mother gets trapped underwater and has to bargain for her own life and that of her kids.

Then, a father and his daughter return to their tiny rice-growing village in China, hoping to rekindle their love for each other inside the walls of his childhood home.

Next, a son puts forth a riddle, asking us to understand what his first experience of God has to do with his Mexican American mother.

Every step–and every family–on this journey is real.

Calling upon his gift for powerful nonfiction narrative and philosophical insight, Bronson explores the incredibly complicated feelings that we have for our families. Each chapter introduces us to two people–a father and his son, a daughter and her mother, a wife and her husband–and we come to know them as intimately as characters in a novel, following the story of their relationship as they struggle resiliently through the kinds of hardships all families endure.

Some of the people manage to save their relationship, while others find a better life only after letting the relationship go. From their efforts, the wisdom in this book emerges. We are left feeling emotionally raw but grounded–and better prepared to love, through both hard times and good time.

In these twenty mesmerizing stories, we discover what is essential and elemental to all families and, in doing so, slowly abolish the fantasies and fictions we have about those we fight to stay connected to.

In Why Do I Love These People?, Bronson shows us that we are united by our yearnings and aspirations: Family is not our dividing line, but our common ground.

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

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 their own family with the mythic ideal, and their reality falls short. Is that a fair standard to judge against?”

In the pages of Why Do I Love These People?, Po Bronson takes us on an extraordinary journey.

It begins on a river in Texas, where a mother gets trapped underwater and has to bargain for her own life and that of her kids.

Then, a father and his daughter return to their tiny rice-growing village in China, hoping to rekindle their love for each other inside the walls of his childhood home.

Next, a son puts forth a riddle, asking us to understand what his first experience of God has to do with his Mexican American mother.

Every step–and every family–on this journey is real.


Calling upon his gift for powerful nonfiction narrative and philosophical insight, Bronson explores the incredibly complicated feelings that we have for our families. Each chapter introduces us to two people–a father and his son, a daughter and her mother, a wife and her husband–and we come to know them as intimately as characters in a novel, following the story of their relationship as they struggle resiliently through the kinds of hardships all families endure.

Some of the people manage to save their relationship, while others find a better life only after letting the relationship go. From their efforts, the wisdom in this book emerges. We are left feeling emotionally raw but grounded–and better prepared to love, through both hard times and good time.

In these twenty mesmerizing stories, we discover what is essential and elemental to all families and, in doing so, slowly abolish the fantasies and fictions we have about those we fight to stay connected to.

In Why Do I Love These People?, Bronson shows us that we are united by our yearnings and aspirations: Family is not our dividing line, but our common ground.


The Washington Post - Carolyn See

Bronson is no Pollyanna; he tells stories about himself that reveal his own compulsion to "succeed," to be "better," but he reminds himself and us repeatedly that those aren't the things that count. Love and decency and self-control count. And the integrity of his prose style as well as the incredible sweetness of those he writes about give him 24-karat credibility.

About the Author, Po Bronson

Although it took him some time to find his literary niche, Po Bronson has settled into his role as social documentarian with great ease, penning two books that have become tremendous commercial, critical, and personal successes in the process.

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

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Editorials

From Barnes & Noble

In 2002, Po Bronson's What Should I Do With My Life? posed the titular question to dozens of "real people in the real world." In this book, he queries "common folk" about equally important matters: How do families who have experienced years of conflict make the transition to a better place, a place of hope, mutual respect, and appreciation? How do we deal with illness, infidelity, money, abuse, assimilation, prejudice, intrusiveness, aloofness, divorce, and death? He finds his answers in the heart-wrenching stories of disparate people, ranging from a Southern Baptist in the Ozarks who tracks down the 13-year-old son he abandoned at birth to a Turkish Muslim woman who marries an officer in the U.S. Navy despite a death threat from her father. Stunning and profound.

Carolyn See

Bronson is no Pollyanna; he tells stories about himself that reveal his own compulsion to "succeed," to be "better," but he reminds himself and us repeatedly that those aren't the things that count. Love and decency and self-control count. And the integrity of his prose style as well as the incredible sweetness of those he writes about give him 24-karat credibility.
— The Washington Post

Publishers Weekly

The 19 families profiled in this absorbing book face a familiar litany of domestic dysfunction: infidelities, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, messy divorces and the intergenerational estrangement of immigrants. Novelist and social documentarian Bronson (What Should I Do with My Life?) finds the solutions to their dilemmas in the good old-fashioned elements of character and action, as people take stock of themselves and their motivations and painstakingly piece together their relationships and lives. Bronson's is an unromantic view of family life; its foundations, he believes, are not soul-mate bonding or dramatic emotional catharses, but steady habits of hard work and compromise, realistic expectations and the occasional willingness to sever a relationship that's beyond repair. But he also has an optimistic view of today's crazy-quilt of blended and unconventional families, reassuring commitment-shy young adults that "the golden era of family is not in our past, it's in our future." Bronson occasionally lapses into shallow pop psychology, as when he chalks up one husband's philandering to the oxytocin "high" caused by sex with someone new. But usually he offers a probing, clear-eyed, hopeful narrative of familial problems that many readers will recognize. Photos. Agent, Peter Ginsburg at Curtis Brown. (On sale Nov. 15) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal

Through sharing the in-depth stories of 17 families (out of the 700 interviewed), best-selling author Bronson (What Should I Do with My Life?) illuminates the meaning of family and increases our understanding of how to improve family relationships. The subjects of his stories are ordinary people who have grown and prospered-sometimes in spite of backgrounds that include poverty, destructive childhoods, and divorce-and who challenge the current notion that families today are in trouble and in worse condition than ever before owing to infidelity, illness, substance abuse, and other afflictions. Indeed, Bronson draws on statistics and historical research to show that there is much promise. Photos appear throughout, and references are included. Bronson's latest espouses a positive message that readers can use to better their own situations. Recommended for public and university libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/05.]-Kay Brodie, Chesapeake Coll., Wye Mills, MD Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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