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The Sister Knot: Why We Fight, Why We're Jealous, and Why We'll Love Each Other No Matter What

Terri Apter, Author
Terri Apter, Author . Norton $25.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-393-06058-4
Reviewed on: 10/09/2006
Release date: 00/00/0000
Hardcover - 415 pages - 978-0-7862-9692-7
Paperback - 308 pages - 978-0-393-33062-5
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Sisterly love, Apter (The Myth of Maturity ) shows, isn't always pure: to differentiate herself from her older sister Sam, teenager Gina manipulated Sam into gaining weight; Kate's three sisters put aside jealousies and power plays to rally around her after she was raped; and Dorri wrongly accused her lesbian sister, Annette, of having an affair with her husband because a teenage Annette used to steal Dorri's boyfriends. This generic study of the complex ties that bind sisters teaches us that a sister's death is one of the most difficult losses to overcome; women's friendships often mirror the sister bond in both pleasure and pain; elderly sisters provide each other with crucial psychological succor; adult women are passionately invested in their own versions of family stories; and female empathy, when viewed through the sister knot, is revealed as a complicated skill "used for control and denigration as often as for care and protection." Throughout, British psychologist Apter's stodgy prose is brightened by excerpts from interviews she conducted with 76 British and American sisters from 37 families; while her analyses are perceptive, she's also treading on familiar territory without the creativity displayed by a Deborah Tannen or Bruno Bettelheim. (Jan. 15)

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