Library Journal Loves Three of Our Books

Three fantastic Library Journal reviews for our forthcoming Sociology titles!

Getting Wasted:
Vander Ven (sociology & anthropology, Ohio Univ.; Working Mothers and Juvenile Delinquency) delves into well-trod territory, though with a somewhat new perspective and research motive. While previous scholarly efforts have focused on binge drinking and its inherent risks, Vander Ven focuses on the social structure, meaning, and implication of drinking behaviors. With an intended audience of researchers, students, and parents, as well as college administrators, the book recounts the self-reported alcohol-related rationalizations and outcomes of over 400 college students at three different campuses. The author focuses on the impetus for drinking and the important roles codrinkers play, the range of activities that can result during a bout of drinking (fun to potentially fatal), and the ensuing impact and result of the drinking episode. This is not a comfortable read. And yet despite limited analysis and an academic’s awkward touch on somewhat questionable youth-culture language, the book does offer a realistic portrayal of socially bonding drinking behaviors and attitudes. In the end Vander Ven suggests stellar ways campuses can reduce the harm of excessive drinking. VERDICT Recommended for sociologists, university administrators, and college-age students–Jewell Anderson, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ. Lib. Savannah.

The Tender Cut:
This timely,important book is not an easy read. Although, according to the authors, “self-injury has existed for nearly all of recorded history,” the quantum growth in the last 20 years of people, especially the young, engaging in self-cutting, burning, branding, scratching, picking at skin, reopening wounds, biting, hair pulling, and more supports the need for a comprehensive discussion about self-injury. Patricia A. Adler (sociology, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder) and Peter Adler (sociology & criminology, Univ. of Denver) present a clinical but compassionate scholarly treatment. While the recent use of cyberspace for “practitioners” of self-injury to communicate with each other about formerly very private behaviors now provides alarming evidence of this “cult youth phenomenon,” it also offers the possibility for mutual support among practitioners and, perhaps, interventions by professionals and caring families. In their thorough treatment of the subject, the authors include a history and literature review of this difficult topic, discussions of case histories, and examinations of relational dynamics and social contexts that may lead to cutting. VERDICT While literary references and clinical terms may be beyond the average reader, this is a must-read for those connected in any way to this topic. -Ellen D. Gilbert, Princeton, NJ

The Maid’s Daughter:
Mexican-born Carmen settled in Los Angeles in the mid-1960s as a live-in maid with her young daughter, Olivia. Aside from occasional visits to relatives in impoverished Mexican neighborhoods, Olivia lived her childhood and teen years with Carmen’s primary employer, the Smiths, who in ways embraced Olivia as one of their own–from paying for her education to, many years later, inscribing her name on a Smith family gravestone. Over the course of 20 years, social justice scholar Romero interviewed the adult Olivia about her childhood experiences. Olivia’s knowledge of two disparate communities gave her broad social capital and a high degree of social confidence, but her cultural competence was muddied while growing up by her proximity to privilege, with her access to the fruits of privilege strictly limited. VERDICT At once a valuable case study and a dramatic life story, this oral history explores identity and illuminates race, class, and gender in America at a peculiarly intimate intersection between upper-middle-class white families and the women of color who provide domestic labor for them. With Romero’s analysis, extensive footnotes, and a thorough bibliography, it will be greater interest to scholars than to casual readers of memoir–Janet Ingraham Dwyer, State Lib. of Ohio, Columbus.