Book Review – What’s Wrong WIth My Family by Gary L. Malone MD and Susan Mary Malone

What’s Wrong With My Family? And How to Live Your Best Life Anyway
Gary L. Malone & Susan Mary Malone
Paperback: 172 pages
Publisher: Authorlink (January 7, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1928704425
ISBN-13: 978-1928704423

This book opens with a quote from Viktor Frankl, from his wonderful book Man’s Search for Meaning. “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms- to choose one’s own attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Showing people how to put that into practice is the main point of this book. As the product description says, we can’t escape our families and the foibles that come with many people interrelating, so we have to find a way to live an emotionally healthy life despite the issues we bring from our past. “A book of hope, it shows that no matter where you come from, you can live your best life anyway.”

The progression of the book is from introducing the varying levels of dysfunction in a family that can stem from parenting issues, difficulties with blended families, sibling rivalry, and in-laws, to finding normalcy. Each chapter ends with a “What you can use” section, which is a summation of the points made in the chapter with suggestions on how to put those points into action.

Even though the book is written by a mental health professional, Gary L. Malone, it is not heavily laden with wordage that makes a reader stop and say, “huh?” The language in the book is easily understood, lively, and very engaging.

I especially liked the fact that the authors used examples from literature to make a point. For example: “Each person must make it in the big water on his own. As Hemingway’s fisherman thinks in The Old Man and the Sea; ‘His choice had been to stay out in the deep dark water far out beyond all snares and traps and treacheries. My choice was to go there and find him.’ The operative word here being choice. To live your best life, navigating the far seas must be an acceptable option in your own psyche.”

There is also plenty of sound advice in how to make good choices. For instance, in the chapter on parenting, the authors promote finding a good balance between being a “Tiger Mom” and leaving a child on his own so much that it appears nobody cares whether he succeeds or not. The authors encourage this balance as well as boundaries; a child needs to be a child first, then an adult.

There is much to be learned from this book no matter your age or circumstance. Since we all come from families and have to deal with those pesky family issues that continue to influence us, we can find good advice within these pages.

Please come back on Wednesday when Susan will be my guest here. She will share a little bit about how this book came to be and what it is like to write with a sibling.

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