In paperback March 2017.
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In this book, both carefully observed and deeply felt, Josh Gamson gives voice to the changing nature of family in modern America. The new relationships he describes are complicated and sometimes difficult, but also suffused with love. This beautifully constructed and often hilarious manifesto rings with hope for a society in which everyone is free not only to marry but also to designate as family whomever he or she chooses.
These family making journeys raise hard questions, but offer no formulaic answers. These are stories of choices made consciously and sometimes uncomfortably to create and combine lives amidst the messy human realities of desire, commerce, science, faith, community and family. This collection is not a roadmap; it is a companion for all those who choose to navigate the world of modern kinship.
[A] fascinating look at the remarkable range of experiences that is broadening the very idea of family.
Rich in dramatic tensions, private passions and public and political moral complexities.
Gamson’s description of the fierce love and determination that drove the creation of these families is candid and moving. As a sociologist, he recognizes the power differentials that come into play in surrogacy arrangements and the global inequalities that underlie international adoptions.... but Gamson describes the human connections that many people manage to forge as they navigate through these inequalities.... Compelling.
What is so deft about ‘Modern Families’ is the ease with which Gamson weaves together individual stories about creating families with academic research about the process... There are moments in all these accounts that will bring you to tears... Gamson is a great storyteller.
A warmhearted and normalizing look at some rare kinds of families.
Both seriously passionate about his cause and irrepressibly funny, Gamson takes us into the new world of unconventional family making. Making his way past the wagging fingers, he takes important new questions to the public square. If two men want a baby, whose egg and womb will it be, and what will be their relationships to the two women involved? How do we buy genes or borrow wombs or adopt children without letting the market take over the story and meaning? ‘Modern Families’ is a deeply compassionate voyage into uncharted territory.
These ‘bedtime stories’ should expand the hearts and minds of readers. Josh Gamson’s exquisitely rendered tales of brave new family-making routes to contemporary parenthood and kinship aim to advance the dream of reproductive freedom.
Gamson successfully weaves together the personal and the academic throughout the book. He takes personal stories and situates them within more complicated institutions and social structures.
A must-read for anyone interested in families today.
‘Modern Families’ is about people who attempt to create an ordinary child through extraordinary means. Their journey starts—and their child’s Origin Story begins—by navigating the worlds of assisted reproduction, new forms of co-parenting and global adoption. In doing so, these families challenge boundaries of traditional kinship and intimacies. Featured tales of parenthood are told against a backdrop of rapidly changing advances in biomedicine, the expansion of the Internet and globalizing markets. Josh Gamson, a gifted writer, delivers a provocative and memorable book.