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Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do

by Wednesday Martin

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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A groundbreaking and truly stepmother-centered way of understanding the tensions that seem to define relations between women and their stepchildren

Half of all women in the United States will live with or marry a man with children. And what woman with stepchildren has not -- in order to defuse the often overwhelming challenges and anxieties she experiences -- referred to herself as a "stepmonster"?

What Hope Edelman's book has done for motherless daughters, Wednesday Martin's empowering and original Stepmonster does for stepmothers: unlocks the emotional mysteries of why they think and feel and act the way they do. Martin draws on her own experience as a stepmother, interviews many stepmothers and stepchildren, and gathers insights from literature, psychology, and evolutionary biology to reveal the little-understood realities of this demanding role.

Stepmonster illuminates the harrowing process of becoming a stepmother, exposes the myths and realities of being married to a man with children, counteracts the prevailing notion that stepmothers are solely responsible for the problems they encounter, identifies the five "step-dilemmas" that create conflict, and considers the emotional and social challenges men with children face when they remarry. Stepmonster also sheds light on the history of stepmothering and the previously overlooked legacy of women with stepchildren everywhere.

Finally, in an unexpected twist, Martin shows why the myth of the Wicked Stepmother is at once an elaborate cultural fiction and our single best tool for understanding who real stepmothers are and how they feel.


pub date: 2009-05-04 | hardcover | 9780618758197