Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review: You Were Always Mom's Favorite!: Sisters in Conversation Throughout Their Lives by Deborah Tannen

Image from Musings of a Book Lover

I've been exposed to Deborah Tannen's linguistical prowess in various forms since graduate school. What is most awe inspiring to me is Tannen's down to earth, conversational writing style. No matter the complexity of the subject, Tannen manages to make readers feel as if they are chatting with an old friend. Despite my previous exposure to Tannen's research, I had never read one of her book length studies. I spotted You Were Always Mom's Favorite!: Sisters in Conversation Throughout Their Lives at the same time I found Rachel Simmons' The Curse of the Good Girl. I was immediately drawn to the study because the title is exactly what I've heard my sister say many times in conversations throughout our lives. Recent breakdowns in communication between my sisters and me propelled me to pursue Tannen's study of sisterly conversations with interest. Tannen's intimate, conversational style did not disappoint; however, much of the content included accounts of older and younger sisters in competition, which I was very familiar with from personal experience. When Tannen wasn't describing sisters in conflict, she was painting a portrait of sisters so close they finish each others sentences - an ideal I haven't had as much experience with. These descriptions left me feeling jealous and slightly ashamed. I had entered into Tannen's books with the hope of uncovering conversational analysis and templates to improve my communication with my sisters. What I found was an extended description I could have written myself paired with idealized accounts of sisters that made me feel like a failure in my own relationships. These feelings coupled with an overdue library book with no renewals made me put down this book unfinished.

I may return to it later when I can have more time with it. If you've read it, let me know: Is there more of what I'm looking for in the second half of the book? Or is it more of the same? Is it worth revisiting?

Read for the Reading Outside the Box Challenge hosted by Kate at Musings of a Book Lover
Level Four: 3 Opposites Attract (or in this case, not so much) 

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