Sunday, October 30, 2005

Between Two Worlds by Elizabeth Marquardt

At long last, Between Two Worlds by Elizabeth Marquardt has been published. Those who have read Generation Ex may recall her name as I reference her research.

Elizabeth first caught my attention with an article she wrote for The Washington Post, "We're Successful and We're Hurt." Her words validated my experience:

Those of us who have experienced the losses of divorce know the truth. I'm 31 years old. I'm a writer, just as I always wanted to be. I have a graduate degree from the University of Chicago, a loving husband, and supportive family and friends. From the outside, I look pretty successful. But I have a complex story that, especially through my early years, was largely shaped by my parents' divorce. They divorced when I was 2 and both remain to this day very much involved in my life. I have never doubted their love for me. But for as long as I can remember, they led completely separate lives. I lived with my mother during the school year, and with my father during summers and holidays. I did not lose either of my parents, but a reunion with one of them was always a parting from the other, and the longing I felt for each of them produced sadness and a fear of loss that persisted when I grew up. Their divorce doesn't explain all that I am, but the way it shaped my childhood is central to understanding who I am.

In her book, Elizabeth presents the results of a new national study she conducted with sociologist Norval Glenn. Between Two Worlds focuses on two facets of the divorce experience for children. One is how divorce negatively affects the spiritual and moral formation of children. The second is the analogy of children of divorce being aliens in two worlds (mom's house, dad's house), a part of both, but not truly belonging to either. In intact families, parents made the adjustments to define the rules and roles of home. In divorced families, the child is expected to morph to fit the expectations of each.

I highly encourage you to pick up this important book. Elizabeth is no stranger to the media so I anticipate that we'll be seeing more on her in the coming months.

(btw...Elizabeth mentions my book on page 10).

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