Apr 13, 2012
Everyone should read this book. It helps explain why the poor -- irrespective of race -- act as they do, and why the pattern of children-before-marriage (if there ever is a marriage) is creeping upwards to the not-so-poor. The conclusions may astound liberal and conservative alike, but the authors have patiently researched and persuasively stated their case. An important book that deserves a larger readership.
William L. F
Sep 1, 2011
Well-written and fun to read, gives unexpected and important insights into the hearts of women in poor communities. Changed my thinking just by informing me.
Mar 13, 2008
The quotation from William Julius Wilson on the cover sounds "over the top," but it is not: "This is the most important study ever written on motherhood and marriage among low-income urban women." Edin and Kefalas set a high standard for ethnographic research. Unlike many other research projects, they did not simply "dip their feet into a flowing river" (with apologies to Heraclitus). They conducted hundreds of interviews among a diverse population over several years. One of them (Edin) actually lived for several years with her family in one of the neighborhoods: went to church there, shopped there, swapped stories about motherhood. In other words, she actually became part of the community. The final study is a testament to the authors' tenacity, integrity, and professionalism. It is not difficult to understand why it won a major award. On a final note, if you are expecting extensive theoretical justification, you may be disappointed. This study is exceptionally well-written and rich in detail, but it is not, and does not pretend to be, "theoretical" -- at least in the postmodern or critical sense. From my point of view, this is a merit, not a defect. Edin and Kefalas make a parsimonious, but profound claim regarding single urban mothers and support it with seemingly unimpeachable data. For most auditors, that counts as elegance. Elegance is enough.