Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dear Great Book Guru, My family celebrates a multitude of October birthdays so I will be seeing a lot of my siblings over the next few weeks. We love getting together and I thought I would discuss with them a new book on siblings I heard discussed on NPR. Do you know about it and, if so, would you recommend it? Sentimental Sibling

Dear Sentimental, The book you heard reviewed has received a great deal of publicity: THE SIBLING EFFECT by Jeffrey Kluger. The subtitle is "What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us." Kluger is the science editor of Time magazine but this book is more biographical than scientific; in fact, it might be considered "science lite." Kluger uses his own family to showcase new findings on the effects siblings have on one another. He delves into birth order, parental favoritism, blended families, the role gender plays , twin bonding, the only child, and growing old with siblings. As it turns out, Kluger's family has examples of all these topics. The middle child of four boys, Kleger also has twin half siblings- his parents' marriage and breakups form a large piece of the family history he recounts. The book is filled with tales of affection, jealousy, greed, parental infractions- the brothers experienced them all- and we meet them finally as middle-aged men reminiscing over dinner at Joe Allen's in New York City. While not a particularly informative book, it was surprisingly touching. Oh, and yes- Happy Birthday to Big Jim, Ria, and Dan- my October birthday celebrants!

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