Book Review: Unbroken Homes: Single Parent Mothers Tell Their Stories. Wendy A. Paterson, New York: 2001, 409. pp. $27.95 (paperback), $69.95 (hard cover)

Book Review: Unbroken Homes: Single Parent Mothers Tell Their Stories. Wendy A. Paterson, New... P1: GDX Sex Roles [sers] pp884-sers-466847 June 10, 2003 17:27 Style file version June 3rd, 2002 ° C Sex Roles, Vol. 49, Nos. 3/4, August 2003 ( 2003) Book Review Unbroken Homes: Single parent mothers tell their steam mothers whose priorities are not focused on stories. Wendy A. Paterson, New York: 2001, fighting poverty to survive” (p. 85). Even so, this as- 409. pp. $27.95 (paperback), $69.95 (hard cover). sumes that the picture that has been painted of women from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who are sin- gle mothers is accurate. I differ. Furthermore, the Wendy A. Paterson’s book is an excellent ex- “mainstream mothers” had issues (e.g., alcoholism, ample of “giving voice” as it describes rather than pornography, abuse) that prove that deviance is not depicts the experience of single motherhood as told class-centered. Therefore, I surmise that complemen- by five women. The introduction signals the fervor tary themes could be present in both (socioeconomic) with which Paterson will challenge the historical role groups even as we recognize the variations that make of women in American society and the definition of each person “a case.” family. Paterson’s work is epistemologically grounded In spite of that point, Paterson’s “story quilt” is in feminist theory and embraces a critical view of engaging. The final chapter, “Viewing the quilt: Pat- gender roles, identity, self-esteem, and stigma—all of terns and themes” provides a synthesis and highlights which are relevant to the topic, especially for divorced the fact that the five mothers are benefactors of sup- mothers who are reinterpreting what happily ever af- port systems that may include, but are not limited to, ter really means to them. the fathers, their ex-partners (e.g., financially, parent- Paterson devotes a chapter to each of the five ing). One of the invigorating themes of this work is the mothers interviewed for this book. Each one breathes choice made by each of the women to live by her, own the themes into reality, and therein lies the “story standards in the face of a society predicated on cou- quilt” (p. 83). This work acknowledges and celebrates pleness. Those who know a single mother, were raised the thriving of these mothers and, at the same time, by a single mother, are themselves single mothers, or takes the reader through a historical, social, political, understand that there are all kinds of families that and economic voyage that becomes clearer with each work will appreciate having a “mother present” in- narrative. It is worthy to note that the five mothers are stead of “father absent” perspective. Paterson’s book members of the middle class, college-educated, and is in rare company, and, overall, it is a qualitatively professional. Paterson states the following about the rich read. selection of these women: “Given the preponderance of research grouping single parenting with factors of LaShawn Wordlaw-Stinson social deviance, I chose to work instead with main- Wayne State University ° C 193 0360-0025/03/0800-0193/0 2003 Plenum Publishing Corporation Sex Roles Springer Journals

Book Review: Unbroken Homes: Single Parent Mothers Tell Their Stories. Wendy A. Paterson, New York: 2001, 409. pp. $27.95 (paperback), $69.95 (hard cover)

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Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
Copyright © 2003 by Plenum Publishing Corporation
Psychology; Gender Studies; Sociology, general; Medicine/Public Health, general
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