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Why Do I Love These People?: The Families We Come from and the Families We Form [Paperback]

Po Bronson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Jan 2006
There's the family you come from, and the family you create. After the enormous success of "What Should I Do With My Life?", Po Bronson's new book deals with the crucial subject of families. The book tells of ordinary people, who've had to recreate a life after hardship, much like in "What Should I do With My Life?" This book tells about: the sole survivor of a plane wreck that killed her family; a father raising his second family, trying to do it right this time, when his 2year old son dies mysteriously; an Indian woman imported to the U.S. in an arranged marriage, now divorced and on her second family; Fiorella, half Italian/half American, who divorces her London husband and wonders whether to move her children to be with family in Rome or New York; It also talks about: a Mexican mother whose son had severe ADHD, and everyone said there was no hope, who raised him to be an honors student graduating this week from Arizona State; a father who never got to admit his paternity (she was married and pretended the baby was from the marriage) who is compelled, powerfully, to find his son, 14 years later, and rescue him from a bad situation; men who were ignored by their fathers, now taking care of their fathers in their final years; and about Amy who breaks off her engagement in Japan, comes home to Manchester, wallows for years until she finally breaks the decade-long silence with her alcoholic father, which somehow frees her to love again. Po Bronson has spoken and corresponded with 1,000 of people to write this remarkable book.


Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker; Airport /Export ed edition (5 Jan 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0436205335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0436205330
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 575,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

From the Publisher

Bestselling writer Po Bronson has written an extraordinary book about the institution that is central to all our lives.

About the Author

Po Bronson is chairman of Consortium Book Sales & Distribution. He writes for Wired, Rolling Stone and the New York Times Magazine and lives in San Francisco.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coping with Imperfection 9 Feb 2006
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Many people grew up with the happy hope that they would lead an ideal life within a loving family that was totally devoted to their best interests. Surprise! It usually doesn't work out that way.
Many people feel like their chance for happiness is over when they have a setback in terms of family life.
Anyone who reads Po Bronson's Why Do I Love These People? will realize that the first disappointment is only a minor hurdle along the path to having a better family life. In fact, the latest disappointment is only of middling concern . . . as long as you deal with that disappointment with integrity and love.
Truth is stranger and more fascinating than fiction. Most reviewers would criticize novels based on these stories as being hard to swallow. Real people wouldn't act that way! But extraordinary people have acted in these positive ways and they provide role models and hope for the rest of us.
Based on your own experiences, you'll react more or less to individual stories. But I wager that you'll find some that move you to the bottoms of your feet.
I was also touched when Mr. Bronson included some of his own life story here so we wouldn't feel like he was playing the role of clinical observer. I'm sure it must have been a heavy weight to carry so much love, loss and hurt around with him. But I'll bet that the stories that provide hope felt like life preservers after a while.
I felt emotionally leveled by The Promise, The Cook's Story, The Trial, Dorothy's Child, Jamaica?, The Butcher's Wife, The Unexplained and The Tornado.
The last time I read a book about a series of real-life experiences that moved me so much was Studs Terkel's book, Working.
If you care about having a better family life, read this book . . . and think long and hard about what you learn. Then act!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Po Bronson's rather different approach to be self-help - that is, ask other people how they found there way was well received in his "What shall I do with my life?"
I saw this book and was initially disappointed when I saw that he was taking the same approach to families. However, his point seems to be that reflection on other people's honest accounts of their own experience helps us to understand ourselves. And it does.
However, if you are trying to find your answer in a 'self-help book' this may be too powerful for you. Some of the experiences described with admirable honesty are not pleasant and it can be quite harrowing to feel you have a handle on someone just for them to surprise you in this way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful... 2 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback
I enjoyed this book, some of the stories are very inspiring. I particularly liked the Chinese man and his success with the orchids in the States and how the villagers back in China kept his cottage just as it was for when he came back. Also, the African family and how they looked out for one another. It takes allsorts to make a world. Highly recommended. Jan Bird
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  44 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspires you to commit to your relationships 2 April 2006
By Kanishka Sinha - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I think the most striking part of this book is that you feel comforted by the fact that the problems you're facing in your own relationships are commonplace. They're not dysfunctional. Every family has its share of issues and you don't need to feel overly guilty for yours. The book's underlying theme is that families that honesty, consideration, character, belief and perhaps above everything else - resilience, can get you through the worst debacles and that at the end of the day it's probably (though not always) worth the effort.

Stories include:

Resentment about controlling parents who appear to display conditional loving and also about appreciating how much of their lives parents sacrifice to bring the kids up; the search for redemption after abandoning a kid or cheating on a wife, the courage required to break relationships that are dead and the perseverance required to bring one back from the dead (and the effect on kids), dealing with the families of your in-laws and family objection to marriage, how to deal with kids who are falling into bad habits when you feel powerless to influence their decisions because they no longer respect you or listen to you, dealing with the death of a child, how we feel obligated to spend time with our families rather than actually wanting to spend time with them and what we are losing, etc.

Although it may seem that most people cannot relate to these situations... actually I felt an amazing amount of empathy for the families and came away with a renewed conviction that I can get the perfect family life (with all it's frustrations and headaches) and balance it with everything.

If you have any relationship, friendship that you have a certain amount of frustration, resignation about then I strongly recommend this book. It is one of those books that if it hits you at the right time - it could change your relationships and your life.
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great treasure! 24 Jan 2006
By Ian M. Enriquez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Life can be quite a maze of great joys and incredible pain, but every step of the way the greatest thing one can hope for is the capacity to learn and grow. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Pain is a great obstacle and most of us find ourselves trapped for most of our lives by our past.

This book is a true blessing. The book is filled with tons of stories from a multicultural array of relationship experiences where people learn to overcome the life's great obstacles and capture the true meaning of being alive. This book came to me at a low point in my life, when hope was slowly fading from my heart. This book gave me faith that pain is not an end, but a bump in life's journey. It is impossible to read this book and not come away inspired and nurtured by the stories of the people in its pages.

Do not miss the opportunity to experience this treasure as it will nourish your soul, but be warned-- you will be moved to buy this book for the people you care most about in life because this truly blessed experience is not meant to remain a secret.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful biographical vignettes 1 April 2006
By Donna Delaune - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Po Bronson's WHY DO I LOVE THESE PEOPLE?, is exactly what the subtitle says...honest & amazing stories of real families. Many of them will open your eyes...some of them will bring tears to your eyes. This book is a must for any troubled family, or anyone who wants a "real" look at families around the world.
54 of 68 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars My story. 3 Feb 2006
By Disturbed - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Mine is one of the stories in the book. When Po sent it to me, I was eager to read it because I expected it to be handled in a sensitive manner while telling an important story. I was wrong.

I felt violated - not because I was expecting a rosey spin on my story but because Po violated some important things we had discussed. He told me he wasn't sure what angle he would take on the story but that he would most certainly run it past me. Wrong again. I considered him a friend and shared with him a photograph of my children. Imagine my surprise when I found it published in the book WITHOUT MY PERMISSION.

I have not read the other stories in the book. It has been months and I have not been able to get past being used in this way.

If my story has helped anyone, it has been at a very high cost to me...one that I did not agree to pay.
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful collection of inspiring stories. 3 Dec 2005
By Gary G. Trabucco - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Simply put, this is absolutely a wonderful book. It will bring you to tears, inspire you, give you hope, and create a deep introspection about yourself and your own family.

Po's writing is truly a gift. I recommend it highly and I bet you'll want to give it to each member of your family.
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