Thursday, November 29, 2018

Always a Parent - Gouri Dange

Gouri is a wonderful writer and her writing is full of style and verve. You should read her Three-Dog Night to get a sense of her writing. She is also a family counsellor and a writer who has been published by the best of publishing houses.

'Always a Parent' is a well-structured and thought-out book that addresses the parent-child relationship ('Managing our Longest Relationship' is the byline). The book has chapters addressing such important issues as Privacy and Boundaries, Inter-generational Living, Ethics and Values, Sexuality, Marriage and Choice of Partners, Career choices and relocation, Lifestyle, Money, Grandchildren, Childhood issues, Dysfunctional families, Property and Inheritance, Divorce and remarriage (kids and parents), Death and Dying. It pretty much tackles all sorts of scenarios that could crop up.

Each chapter has a thing or two that one could file away for use. The chapters are well structured - the issue, the turning point of such equations, how to clear up communication and leaves you with a parting thought. What really works for the book is that it is not heavy with academic research, addresses the problem directly, does not 'give' advise but rather suggests gently, does not take sides and is full of relatable examples. It's something that anyone can read and relate to and apply in their lives. For example, respecting boundaries, treating grownups like grownups and getting out of their space, letting people be and live their lives the way they want to, finding things to do for yourselves instead of making your children or your parents your 'projects'.

I remember how much 'Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus' influenced me. When I read that book and identified with the situations I was amazed at how similar the reactions, even the words used were so similar to what I used (and perhaps still do). Gouri's book made me relive a bit of that.

The tone is nice and easy, non-judgmental and conversational. Like Shabana Azmi said on the book cover, it's a book 'that needed to be written'. Nicely done Gouri.

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