Cover image for For better, for worse : a guide to surviving divorce for preteens and their families
For better, for worse : a guide to surviving divorce for preteens and their families
Bode, Janet.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2001.
Physical Description:
164 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Uses first-person accounts from young people to describe the effects of divorce and remarriage and how to handle them. Includes a section for adults discussing how to minimize both the short- and long-term impact of divorce.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ777.5 .B625 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
HQ777.5 .B625 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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PETER, AGE ELEVEN:My parents are talking divorce and I'm thinking, "Is it something I did? What happens now? Who do I live with? Will we still live together or will we separate?" So many questions with no answers.Divorce affects half of the nation's children. As parents divorce and remarry, kids can feel squeezed and battered emotionally. Often they wonder if what they are experiencing is normal. Often they feel confused. Often they feel alone.Janet Bode explored these feelings in interviews with more than a thousand students, as well as parents, therapists, religious leaders, teachers, and others. From these interviews she presents first-person accounts that detail the effects of divorce and offers solutions that have worked. A separate section geared to adult readers aims to help them minimize both the short-term and long-range impact of divorce on their children. And a final section suggests print and on-line resources for kids and their parents.This is a needed, compelling, and inspiring guide for what can be a difficult time in anyone's life. For Peter, and anyone else with "so many questions," For Better, For Worse is a book of answers.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-8. Bode, who died in 1999, garnered a well-earned reputation for excellent nonfiction based on interviews with young people. In this guide for preteens and their families, candid accounts and advice from youth are once again the high point. The brief first-person narratives are often accompanied by wide-ranging "kid solutions" about how to deal with particular problems, and sometimes by a therapist's comments. However, the book is split: the first part is directed to preteens, the second part to parents. The advice for these two groups is necessarily quite different, so the pairing seems awkward, especially since many young people are reluctant to share books with a parent. Nonetheless, the excellent content overcomes the organizational problems of the text. Cartoons by Stan Mack, who collaborated with Bode on other titles, are a nice counterpoint, illustrating the stories with style, humor, and empathy. Illustrations from kids are identified (to distinguish them from Mack's), and are used to good effect. --Debbie Carton

Publisher's Weekly Review

Divided into two parts, the first "For girls and boys," the second for parents, For Better, For Worse: A Guide to Surviving Divorce for Preteens and Their Families by Janet Bode and Stan Mack offers quotes from children who have lived through their parents' divorce and encourages parents to talk with their children with practical tips. Some children give anecdotes in the form of cartoons, some through poetry, and there is a recurring "Kid problem, Kid solutions" section. By keeping the focus on children, often in their own words, the authors present a variety of situations and experiences to validate the reader's own predicament. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-8-In this refreshingly honest book, seven preteens discuss their experiences with divorce-stepparents, custody arrangements, remarriage, money woes, and more. One uses a comic-strip format; many others comment briefly or share their advice, poetry, and art. Their stories reflect agony, confusion, and the occasional flash of humor. Even the brief comments prove heartrending: "We moved from a house to an apartment," says 12-year-old Alice. "Through the walls I can hear my mom and her latest boyfriend having sex. I hate it." Others seem more accepting of the changes in their lives. Therapists chime in at the end of each narrative to offer insight and remind kids that they aren't to blame. But the best statements, offered bluntly and without sugarcoating, come from the contributors themselves. Their remarks are revealing-for example, 12-year-old Brandon says the best thing about divorce is that "You can get out of trouble because you have a good excuse, the divorce." Others offer strategies for manipulating feuding parents. Readers will recognize and appreciate the honesty here, and the fact that no one offers easy answers. The second part of the book is aimed at divorcing parents, which does seem slightly out of place in what is primarily a forum for young voices. Still, For Better, for Worse is a useful resource for preteens who need to know they are not alone.-Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Part 1 For Girls and Boys Introduction The Question
Chapter 1 Overview and Kid's-eye View
Chapter 2 The Survey: Filling in the Blanks
Chapter 3 Real-Life Broken Valentine Stories...Along with Advice from Other Kids and Therapists
Chapter 4 Writing and Drawing Your Feelings
Chapter 5 The Other Side of the Marriage-Divorce Line
Chapter 6 The Answer, and Real-Life Happy Endings
Part 2 For Parents Introduction Reality Check
Chapter 7 A Divorced Mother's Perspective
Chapter 8 A Divorced Father's Perspective
Chapter 9 Teachers', Librarians', and Youth Workers' Advice
Chapter 10 Banana Splits Coordinator's Advice
Chapter 11 Communication Skills Specialist's Advice
Chapter 12 Pastor's Advice
Chapter 13 Jewish Family Service Supervisor's Advice
Chapter 14 Family Therapist's Advice Print and Web Advice Resources
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