The Transcendent Child: Tales of Triumph Over the Past

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9780060977207: The Transcendent Child: Tales of Triumph Over the Past

How is it that some people can transcend even the most harsh and painful past? For the answer, Dr. Rubin turns to the life stories of adults who were scarred by the worst kinds of family and social pathologies as children yet found the strength to endure and live rich and satisfying adult lives. Through their life stories, she provides new insight into human development and shows readers how they too can overcome their own personal trauma.

A vivid reminder that people don't have to be live as hostages to their past, The Transcendent Child is a truly timely and important book for the thousands of Americans who are fed up with living their lives as victims.

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About the Author:

Lillian B. Rubin is an internationally recognized author and social scientist She is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Queens College, C.U.N.Y., in New York and Senior Research Associate at the Institute for the Study of Social Change at the University of California, Berkeley Currently, Dr. Rubin resides on both coasts, spending part of each year in New York City and part in the San Francisco Bay area.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Why some people are able to transcend unimaginably harsh childhoods to become healthy, productive adults is the question explored in this often gut-wrenching study. The question holds more than academic interest for psychotherapist Rubin (Families on the Fault Line, 1994, etc.), for her own childhood, revealed here in ugly details, has many parallels with those of the eight men and women she profiles (all identities are disguised). In varying ways and degrees, their home lives were painful. All were mistreated; some, like Sara, were victims of incest, and one, Karen, was even sold by her mother to a couple on another continent. The common elements in their success, Rubin finds, are certain personal characteristics, an important one being resilience, a refusal to regard themselves as victims. Others are the ability to distance themselves from their families and the imagination to picture a different life. Further, they all have a quality that Rubin calls ``adoptability,'' the ability to attract other people--surrogate mothers, mentors--who are willing and able to help them. Equipped with these psychological strengths, they can respond to political and cultural movements of their time. Witness Ana, who grew up as a migrant farmworker but whose awareness of other possibilities was brought home to her by the ethnic pride movement and the feminist revolution; today she is studying for a Ph.D. Although all the men and women in these case studies overcame their backgrounds and now lead fulfilling lives, getting to the happy endings can be rough. In their own words, they tell tales of extraordinary violence and torment. What gives this study a certain poignancy as well as believability is Rubin's repeated ``I was there'' assertions. She feels for her subjects and makes the reader feel, too. Tough stories, but well worth reading for the lessons to be learned. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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