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.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of Family & Relationships eBook: Why Do I Love These People?: Understanding, Surviving, and Creating Your Own Family|
|Release Date: 02-25-2009|
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|Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks|
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Why Do I Love These People?: Understanding, Surviving, and Creating Your Own Family
We’ve all lost something along the way.
In Jennifer Louie’s case, what she had lost was a belief that her family was a fundamentally essential thing, a meaningful purpose worth her devotion, a principle on which to build her life. Family is like Religion: There are all kinds, but when you get right down to it, you either believe, or you’re not sure, or you think it’s a crock of hooey. Jen had lost her belief. She had it in China, and she lost it when she came to America. These things happen—she was moving on. She was in the right place to lose it: The United States of America has seventy-six million great families with roots around the world, but it’s also one of the best places in which to move on after losing belief. It can be done here. Those “Not Sure” have plenty of company.
Then, unexpectedly, it came back. Her belief. It came back when she got to know her father, James, but not as her father, just as a man, a human being with feelings. She found herself loving him again, with a respect she’d not had in twenty years.
This is their story.
I had actually met Jennifer before.
“Do you remember?” she asked.
“I still have your old business card,” I recalled truthfully. We would bump into each other at a South of Market club where my best friend and I used to swing-dance. What I remembered about Jen was that she spoke very directly about her emerging career as a television producer. She was ambitious and sharp. And this was memorable, because we were in a club where (1) businessy career conversations seemed ...