SOCIAL SCIENCES

Childless Living: The Joys and Challenges of Life Without Children

Inner Traditions. Feb. 2019. 240p. ISBN 9781620558386. pap. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781620558393. SELF-HELP
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Through interviewing nonparents worldwide, ages 19–91, Schuitemaker (The Childhood Conclusions Fix) found that each person's story was unique, with some respondents physically unable to conceive and others choosing a childfree lifestyle. The author describes childless living through the lens of the four seasons—"Spring: Promise and Potential," when people are discovering who they want to be; "Summer: Growth and Action," when the choice whether to have children will put them on a different course than the norm; "Autumn: Harvest and Reflection," when the time comes to mentor the young; and "Winter: Contemplation and Completion," when many rely on their children for help. Throughout, the author emphasizes how the choice not to have children plays out over the course of one's life.
VERDICT Steeped in thoughtful research, this intimate portrait of childless living would serve as a valuable sociological tool for understanding family structures as well as a guide for readers considering the childfree option.

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