Pop psych recommendations?
August 31, 2006 7:20 PM   Subscribe

Pop-psych or self-help book recommendations? I'm looking for popular non-fiction books concerning facets of normal human development that are actually interesting to read. I'm mainly interested in mother/daughter relationships, issues affecting teenage girls, romantic relationships, and bereavement, but I'm open to other topics as well. Suggestions?

I know there have been some previous threads on self-help books, but many of the recommendations were more career/money books, or CBT how-tos, and I'm not interested in those. I'm looking for things along the lines of "Dance of Anger" or "Queen Bees and Wannabes" or Deborah Tannen's work -- books that focus on a particular developmental period in one's life and give strategies for coping.
posted by occhiblu to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
">Reviving Ophelia.
posted by lalex at 8:11 PM on August 31, 2006

"I'm Not Mad, I Just Hate You!" : A New Understanding of Mother-Daughter Conflict

(An excellent read, as well as having the best title ever.)
posted by MsMolly at 8:21 PM on August 31, 2006

The movie "Mean Girls" was based on Queen Bees and Wannabees: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence. Q.E.D. the book must be good.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 8:25 PM on August 31, 2006

I couldn't agree more about Reviving Ophelia -- it is a wonderful and fascinating book. Another of the same author's books, The Shelter of Each Other, focuses more on families as a whole. As far as books on romantic relationships, I am a fan of The Five Love Languages. The writing has a Christian slant, but the ideas in the book are entirely secular.
posted by justonegirl at 9:06 PM on August 31, 2006

I'm happy others commented about Reviving Ophelia, because I feel like the reviews in the link I posted made it sound a bit dry. In reality it's incredibly readable.

This is totally out of left field, and completely not a pop psychology book, but if sperose is correct in saying you might be looking for books for your daughter, I remember completely identifying with Blake Nelson's Girl.
posted by lalex at 9:23 PM on August 31, 2006

Response by poster: They're actually for a psych course -- we have to do a review of the popular literature -- but I'm working through a lot of things regarding my relationship with my mother and her death (hence the mother/daughter and bereavement stuff), and my various feminist readings have been talking a lot about bullying and other problems among adolescent girls and how that sets up women's expectations for their lives (hence the adolescence stuff), and I just like relationship books (hence the romantic relationship stuff). So I'm basically looking for books I'd find personally useful/interesting for this assignment.
posted by occhiblu at 9:24 PM on August 31, 2006

Response by poster: (But again, I don't mean to limit the suggestions to those topics exclusively, if people have great books to recommend that fall into other developmental topics.)
posted by occhiblu at 9:26 PM on August 31, 2006

Motherless Daughters, by Hope Edelman
posted by jamaro at 9:30 PM on August 31, 2006 [1 favorite]

Seconding Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman, there is also a companion book Letters from Motherless Daughters.
By the same author, Mother of My Mother - the Intricate Bond Between Generations and Motherless Mothers: How Mother Loss Shapes the Parents We Become.
posted by goshling at 11:25 PM on August 31, 2006

I would also recommend the excellent Mothering Without a Map, by Kathryn Black. Hope's book is also great (and she gave a nice blurb to my collection, "It's a Girl," which is an anthology of women writers on raising daughters -- it covers the mother-daughter relationship from the perspective of new mothers all the way up to mothers of young women in their 20s, and the heart of it really is how mothering a daughter forces women to examine aspects of their own girlhood [and their experiences with their own mothers] that they had thought they'd safely left behind.)

I don't know how good this is, as I haven't read it yet, but there's a new book coming out authored by a mother-daughter team called Come Back: A Mother and Daughter's Journey Through Hell and Back, and another book I've had recommended to me is Girl in the Mirror: Mothers and Daughters in the Years of Adolescence.

But really, I can't say enough about Mothering Without a Map. It is a fantastic read for any woman trying to navigate the identity shift of motherhood from the perspective of having been "undermothered" herself, and for any woman interested in understanding their relationship with a disconnected or otherwise un-present mother.
posted by mothershock at 5:52 AM on September 1, 2006

This is in the "other" category. I just recently read When Friendship Hurts: How to Deal with Friends Who Betray, Abandon or Wound You, and I found it very insightful. As several people have pointed out, there are quite a few books on teenage girl friendship/competition issues, but there don't seem to be a lot of books out there dealing with this subject: the loss of friendship (and the hurt that comes from it) when you're an adult.
posted by witchstone at 6:23 AM on September 1, 2006

My Mother/My Self (the daughter's search for identity) by Nancy Friday

I found this book helpful to me when I read it in the late 80's, during the time I was first living on my own. I'm not sure how much the book applies to relationships today; however, I bet the core ideas are still applicable now.
posted by chase at 8:18 AM on September 1, 2006

non-fiction books concerning facets of normal human development that are actually interesting to read.

Necessary Losses (The loves, illusions, dependencies and impossible expectations that all of us have to give up in order to grow) by Judith Viorst

This was another book I read in my early twenties that had a great impact on my understanding of life. Perhaps I found it at a time I especially needed it, and therefore, I read it like a novel I couldn't put down.
posted by chase at 8:31 AM on September 1, 2006

* You mentioned Dance of Anger -- have you read Dance of Intimacy or Dance of Connection? I liked them better.
* Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams is more like natural history than pop psych, but she is dealing with the death of her mother.
* Natalie Angier's Woman: An Intimate Geography focuses on physical/hormonal aspects of being female, but with lots on the mind-body connection.
* Also, what about In a Different Voice by Carol Gilligan? Similar to Tannen. Gender differences in ethics (men have abstract ethics, women have relational / situational ethics -- I don't believe that gender is the dividing line here, personally). It also addresses the development of ethics in adolescent girls.
posted by salvia at 11:22 AM on September 1, 2006

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