email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
"Intimate" Violence against Women3 NBS of Julian DrewA Little PregnantA Natural History of RapeA Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning AutismA Stir of BonesAbout a BoyAdult Children of Emotionally Immature ParentsAgainst MarriageAgainst MarriageAlmost a PsychopathAlone TogetherAnatomy of LoveAngelsAnother CountryAnxious ParentsApples and OrangesBe Honest--You're Not That Into Him EitherBeing the Other OneBetrayed as BoysBeyond AddictionBipolar DisorderBoys Will Put You on a Pedestal (So They Can Look Up Your Skirt)Breaking ApartBrief Adolescent Therapy Homework PlannerBringing Up ParentsBut I Love HimCaring for a Child with AutismCaring in Remembered WaysCherishmentChildren of the Aging Self-AbsorbedChildren of the Self-AbsorbedChildren, Families, and Health Care Decision MakingClawsCloserCold HitCoping With Difficult PeopleCouple SkillsCruddyDancing in My NuddypantsDivorce PoisonDoing ItDone With The CryingEcstasyEmotional ClaustrophobiaEmotional Fitness for IntimacyEmotional Intelligence at WorkEntwined LivesErotic PassionsEssentials of Premarital CounselingEvery Pot Has a CoverFacts About ADHD ChildrenFamilies Like MineFamilyFamily BoundFamily FirstFear of IntimacyFinal JeopardyFind MeFlashpointFor Lesbian ParentsForgive Your Parents, Heal YourselfGandhi's WayGeorgia Under WaterGetting over Getting MadGetting the Love You WantGetting the Love You Want Audio CompanionGirl in the MirrorGirl StuffGoing Home without Going CrazyHandbook of AttachmentHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHappiness Sold SeparatelyHard to GetHe's Just Not That Into YouHealing ConversationsHollow KidsHot ButtonsHot Chocolate for the Mystical LoverHow Families Still MatterHow to Create Chemistry with AnyoneHow to Give Her Absolute PleasureHow to Handle a Hard-To-Handle KidHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tI am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!I Don't Know How She Does ItI Hate You-Don't Leave MeI Only Say This Because I Love YouI'm OK, You're My ParentsIn the Mood, AgainInside the American CoupleIntrusive ParentingIt's Called a Breakup Because It's BrokenIt's Love We Don't UnderstandJakarta MissingKeeping Passion AliveKeeping Your Child in MindLet's Get This StraightLiberation's ChildrenLife's WorkLikely to DieLove JunkieLove SickLove Times ThreeLove Works Like ThisLoving Someone With Bipolar DisorderLoving Someone with Borderline Personality DisorderLust in TranslationMaking the RunMaking the RunManic DepressionMars and Venus - Starting Over.Mating in CaptivityMom, Dad, I'm Gay.MotherstylesMurder in the InnMysterious CreaturesNecessary NoiseOdd Girl OutOpenOpening to Love 365 Days a YearOphelia's MomOrgasmsOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the DustOvercoming Your Difficult FamilyParenting and the Child's WorldParenting on the GoParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerParents and Digital TechnologyParents Do Make a DifferencePassionate MarriagePlanet JanetPreventing Misbehavior in ChildrenProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Raising AmericaRaising ElijahRaising Kids in an Age of TerrorRaising Kids in the 21st CenturyRaising Resilient ChildrenRay's a LaughRelationship RescueRelax, It's Just SexRespect-Me RulesRomantic IntelligenceRoom For JSecrets of a Passionate MarriageSelf-NurtureSelfish, Shallow, and Self-AbsorbedSex Addiction: The Partner's PerspectiveShidduch CrisisSickenedSingleSlut!Socrates in LoveSomeone Like YouSong for EloiseSpecial SiblingsSpiritually Healing the Indigo Children (and Adult Indigos, Too!)Staying Connected to Your TeenagerStaying Sane When Your Family Comes to VisitStop Arguing with Your KidsStop SignsStop Walking on EggshellsStop Walking on EggshellsStrong, Smart, & BoldSummer of the SkunksSurviving a Borderline ParentTaking Charge of AngerTelling SecretsThank You for Being Such a PainThe Anti-Romantic ChildThe AwakeningThe Bastard on the Couch CDThe Birth of PleasureThe Brief Couples Therapy Homework Planner with DiskThe Bully Action GuideThe Burden of SympathyThe Commercialization of Intimate LifeThe CorrectionsThe Couples Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe DisappearanceThe Dream BearerThe Educated ParentThe Emotional RevolutionThe Employee Assistance Treatment PlannerThe EpidemicThe Ethics of ParenthoodThe Ethics of the FamilyThe Gay Baby BoomThe Good DivorceThe Guide for International Intercultural Couples and Families Intercultural MarriageThe Healing Journey for CouplesThe Hostile HospitalThe Husbands and Wives ClubThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Introvert AdvantageThe Little FriendThe Love HexagonThe Moral Intelligence of ChildrenThe Neuroscience of Human RelationshipsThe New I DoThe Normal OneThe Nurture AssumptionThe OASIS Guide to Asperger SyndromeThe Other ParentThe Philosophical ParentThe Psychology of Parental ControlThe Real Rules for GirlsThe Reflective ParentThe Right to Be ParentsThe Secret Lives of WivesThe Spider and the BeeThe State of AffairsThe StepsThe Story of My FatherThe Velveteen FatherThe Virgin BlueThe Visitation HandbookThe Whole ChildTo Have and To Hurt:Two Is EnoughUnderstanding MarriageUnderstanding the Borderline MotherUnhitchedUntrue Up in FlamesWe've Got IssuesWhat about the KidsWhat Goes UpWhat Is Secular Humanism?What It Means to Love YouWhat Our Children Teach UsWhen a Parent is DepressedWhen Mars Women DateWhen Someone You Love Is BipolarWhen Someone You Love Is DepressedWhy Are You So Sad?Will You, Won't You?WomanWorking With Emotional IntelligenceWorried All the TimeYes, Your Teen Is Crazy!

Related Topics
Staying Sane When Your Family Comes to VisitReview - Staying Sane When Your Family Comes to Visit
by Pamela K. Brodowsky and Evelyn M. Fazio
Da Capo, 2005
Review by Leo Uzych, J.D., M.P.H.
Mar 20th 2007 (Volume 11, Issue 12)

Pamela K. Brodowsky and Evelyn M. Fazio, in a book entitled Staying Sane When Your Family Comes to Visit, have culled a collection of true stories contributed by various persons, including several stories contributed by Brodowsky and Fazio themselves.  The book is a member of the "Staying Sane" family of books, comprised of a collection of advice-centric books focused on finding the silver lining in difficult situations encountered in everyday life.  The overarching intent, of Staying Sane When Your Family Comes to Visit, is to proffer practical advice pertinent to:  how to cope, what to do, and, not least, how to stay sane when family members visit.  And indeed, the diligent reader, sifting through the treasure filled sands of the book's rich terrain, will likely find many grains of insight laden gold.

The contributed stories are noteworthy for their characteristic brevity of length, and uplifting levity of style.  The laugh provoking, practical advice suffusing the book's substantive contents is accompanied notably by the deeply probing instrument of real life experiences, which revealingly peels away layers of pretense and insightfully exposes some of the rough edges of human behavior.  Certainly for readers covetous of practical advice forged in the fire of real life, and injected with a goodly dose of humor, the book is likely an effectual prescription for staying sane when family members come to visit.

An important assumption underlying the book is that the reader may be able to derive practical benefit from the real life travails survived successfully by others.  Towards that end, the book, structurally, is comprised of eight clusters of true stories.  The chapter headings, for the respective clusters, describe, in a few words, some generalized situation.  And each of the eight chapters is embodied by a cluster of stories tethered thematically to one of these situations.  Each of the stories presented is titled individually; and the names of the contributing storytellers are identified.  No further information is provided regarding the respective contributors.

The book's structural discipline encompasses a "Sanity Quiz", presented at the beginning of each chapter.  A Sanity Quiz, in a few sentences, describes a hypothetical set of facts relating to the situation capturing the attention of a particular chapter's cluster of stories.  The reader is then regaled with a multiple choice question, which humorously addresses the issue embedded in the hypothetical.

Another structural feature, in the form of "Survival Hints", appears at the end of almost all of the stories.  The Survival Hints pithily summarize survival related lessons to be learned from the just described story.  In some respects, the Survival Hints lack uniformity.  Some offer advice of a relatively more generalized nature, whereas others are hewed more specifically.  Collectively, on one side of an evaluative ledger, some of the Survival Hints may be described in rather glowing terms, such as:  thoughtful, practical, helpful, sensible, insightful, humorous, and sagacious.  But, on the ledger's other side, particular Survival Hints may be characterized in less flattering terms, such as:  unhelpful, shallow, semi serious, cynical, and crude.

The cluster of stories comprising Chapter One focus thematically on survival lessons associated with visits by family members.  The visits described by the various storytellers, for one reason or another, engendered assorted problems, tensions, difficulties, frustrations, and debilitating emotions.  As the stories embodying Chapter Two exemplify, frustrations, difficulties, and enfeebling concerns may arise, as well, when a visit is made to, rather than by, a family member.

Stressful situations  garnering the rapt attention of other clusters of stories envelop:  nettlesome sibling relationships (Chapter Three); problem ridden or otherwise memorable family gatherings at holiday times (Chapter Four); an array of issues involving food (Chapter Five); kids and pets (Chapter Six); guests who want to help "too much" (Chapter Seven); and guests who stay "too long" (Chapter Eight).

This delectably engrossing book is an admixture of variegated parts, enmeshing elements of real life difficulties entwined with funniness, insightfulness, and practicality.  In the critical view of some, the textual fabric of some of the contributed stories may be eyed as being substantively flimsy to the point of being threadbare.  And some may warily look askance at the book's stylistic penchant for "humor" as arguably detracting from seriousness of purpose in a debasing way. 

The book's reliance on anecdotal material, and resultant lack of academic style discipline, may also be worrisome to some.  Especially in the absence of a means for verifying the veracity of the anecdotal material presented, a critic may question whether the stories, as recounted, describe fully and accurately all pertinent facts.  Moreover, the recounted anecdotes constitute a relatively small sample size which may, in significant ways, be unrepresentative of the vastly larger cohort of real life experiences germane to the situations studied anecdotally in the book.

The distinguishing stylistic and substantive contours shaping the book may lessen its appeal to readers bent on instructive material infused heavily with academic intenseness and rigor.  But this delightful book should, on the other hand, have very broad appeal to all those interested in learning multifarious, real life lessons relating to family dynamics and tinged pleasingly with a salutary measure of humor.


© 2007 Leo Uzych


Leo Uzych (based in Wallingford, PA) earned a law degree, from Temple University; and a master of public health degree, from Columbia University.  His area of special professional interest is healthcare.


Welcome to Metapsychology. We feature over 8200 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than twenty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!

Join our e-mail list!: Metapsychology New Review Announcements: Sent out monthly, these announcements list our recent reviews. To subscribe, click here.

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716