Stepparenting is a big life change and huge responsibility. In Blended Family Dilemmas: Are You Making It or Breaking It? author Christine Li’Chele’ M. aims to offer advice for keeping the peace while navigating changing family dynamics.
Unfortunately, the book suffers from a lack of coherence that makes that advice hard to extract. At just under 60 pages, and with whole pages dedicated to chapter headings and poems unrelated to the subject matter (one is about the 2008 Presidential election), it’s hard to follow the author’s method and intent. The fact that she claims to use the “qualitative research—analysis approach” without explaining what that is or showing any evidence of having done a study further confuses things.
There may be a clue to the book’s origins in some casual mentions of a “teleconference” call (at one point, she writes: “These are just a few of the topics that will be discussed during the teleconference,” without prior mention of such an event). Was part of this book originally used in a class or conference? The book also mentions a website and business name, neither of which can currently be found online.
Within this puzzling structure, the author offers some text that might be helpful to readers. She presents anecdotes throughout that suggest ways to deal with exes, in-laws, and even one’s friends (“Cherish them, but not their opinions”). And at book’s end, she includes different stepparenting scenarios, then asks what readers would do in such a situation. This may prompt useful discussion, although it would have been more instructive had the author included ideas on how to approach the situation and further talking points.
The topic of blended families and the challenges faced by stepparents is an important one. Unfortunately, Blended Family Dilemmas seems more like business materials repurposed into a book without additional editing than it does a polished, professional work. Revision is required before it will appeal to a wide audience.