Review: One Big Happy Family edited by Rebecca Walker
At Queercents, I typically only review personal finance and business books, but when an email arrived from Rebecca Walker, the best-selling author (and my favorite bisexual) it was easy to make an exception with this cue: “It is always the right time to support families. All of them.”
Which leads to Walker’s latest work, One Big Happy Family: 18 Writers Talk About Polyamory, Open Adoption, Mixed Marriage, Househusbandry, Single Motherhood, and Other Realities of Truly Modern Love and why it was described in a review at Kirkus as, “eye-opening and sometimes shocking, as it brilliantly explodes traditional notions about the nuclear family.”
Many of the essays make my lesbian family unit [two mommies, 1 adopted son] appear dull and traditional; another guarantee that this book will send the best of the Prop 8 supporters into a tizzy. This alone should be the sufficient nudge to get you to click over to Amazon and add it to your shopping cart.
The book begins by Walker luring me in with Jenny Block’s titillating personal account of an open marriage that proves “in theory” sometimes actually works in practice… something that troupled gay men figured out moons ago. Crazy, co-dependent, drama-seeking lesbians need not apply. Nevertheless it’s a hot story and inspiration for any that have considered dabbling… and that’s just the first chapter.
What does this have to do with money? Quite a bit in fact:
- There’s a nice piece on living together and managing money by Judith Levine, the writer who survived a year without shopping and wrote the book: Not Buying It.
- An excerpt from gay dad and sex-advice columnist, Dan Savage about his adopted son’s homeless mommy.
- Listen to Meredith Maran wax poetic about never wanting a divorce from her wife; words written in the house she bought years ago as a refugee of her heterosexual marriage.
- Liza Monroy says “I do” to her gay best friend in order to prevent his return to a Muslim country after 9/11.
- There’s also an interesting piece by Antonio Caya, a pseudonym for a happy donor who helped father his nominally gay, ex-girlfriend’s baby.
Finances permeate day to day life and provide a filter through which we sometimes relate, sometimes mate, cohabitate, renovate (e.g. Rebecca Barry’s essay about living in a “fixer” with her sister), and create an inter-dependency (note: Marc & Amy Vachon’s part-time careers and equally shared parenting) where money often makes the family.
My favorite essay of the eighteen was the rant by Neal Pollock about working from home in Los Angeles:
“My wife, Regina, and I are always home, and by always, I mean always. Yes, we work. Paying to live in this sinkhole of a town doesn’t allow for much slackitude. But we work at home…”
I work from home. Enough said.
If you’re looking for financial advice, then better to pick up a copy of Suze Orman’s 2009 Action Plan; but if you’re looking for realities of truly modern love, then look no further than One Big Happy Family, where the gritty part of money and relations will illuminate and entertain you.
You can order a copy here or leave a comment below for your chance to win a free copy of this book. I’ll pick the best comment about why your big happy family deserves to walk away with Walker’s latest gem. Check back on Saturday morning to learn who the winner is.