Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Guest Review: The Stepfamily Survival Guide

-->Guest reviewer is Lettie Kirkpatrick Burress, freelance writer and speaker, www.writingfor him.com.

THE STEPFAMILY SURVIVAL GUIDE, by Natalie Gillespie (Fleming H. Revel, 2004, $12.9) is a recommended read for families on the “stepping” journey and for those who come alongside these families. Since Ms. Gillespie decries the lack of literature on this topic, her own book, borne of personal experience and research, should find a grateful group of readers.

The honesty and transparency found in these pages will be welcome, as will the author’s acknowledgement that many dilemmas found in building healthy relationships within stepfamilies have no easy fixes or sweet solutions. Pertinent topics include dealing with custody battles, keeping the new marriage intact, and stepsibling rivalry.

Ms. Gillespie’s insights regarding the child’s eye view of remarriage following death or divorce were excellent. She asserts, and proves, that the day of a second wedding, although joyous for parents, signifies for children “all they have lost”.

The great strength of this book is the consistent conclusion that ultimately every challenge sends us back to God, the One who redeems. Especially effective is the reminder to pray that “the legacy left to your children may promote an intact family line”.I was puzzled by the book’s silence on the topic of grandparents and feel that the book’s cover does little to draw the reader. But those weaknesses are insignificant in the face of the encouragement and gentle wisdom to be gained by the reader.

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