Only Child: Writers on the Singular Joys and Solitary Sorrows of Growing Up Solo

Front Cover
Deborah Siegel, Daphne Uviller
Harmony Books, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 256 pages
17 Reviews
Only children don’t have to share bedrooms, toys, or the backseat of a car. They don’t have to share allowances, inheritances, or their parents’ attention. But when they get into trouble, they can’t just blame their imaginary friends. InOnly Child, twenty-one acclaimed writers tell the truth about life without siblings—the bliss of solitude, the ache of loneliness, and everything in between.

In this unprecedented collection, writers like Judith Thurman, Kathryn Harrison, John Hodgman, and Peter Ho Davies reflect on the single, transforming episode that defined each of them as an only child. For some it came while lurking around the edges of a friend’s boisterous family, longing to be part of the chaos. For others, it came in sterile hospital halls, while single-handedly caring for a parent with cancer. They write about the parents who raised them, from the devoted to the dismissive. They describe what it’s like to be an only child of divorce, an only because of the death of a sibling, an only who reveled in it or an only who didn’t.

In candid, poignant, and often hilarious essays, these authors—including the children of Erica Jong, Alice Walker, and Phyllis Rose—explore a lifetime of onliness. As adults searching for partners, they are faced with the unique challenge of trying to turn a longtime trio into a quartet. In deciding whether to give junior a sib, they weigh the benefits of producing the friend they never had against the fear that they will not know how to divide their love and attention among multiples. As they watch their parents age, they come face-to-face with the onus of being their family’s sole historian.

Whether you’re an only child curious about how your experiences compare to others’, the partner or spouse of an only, a parent pondering whether to stop at one, or someone with siblings who’s always wondered how the other half lives,Only Childoffers a look behind the scenes and into the hearts of twenty-one smart and sensitive writers as they reveal the truth about growing up—and being a grown-up—solo.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
5
4 stars
3
3 stars
5
2 stars
4
1 star
0

Review: Only Child: Writers on the Singular Joys and Solitary Sorrows of Growing Up Solo, 1st Edition

User Review  - Ami - Goodreads

I nodded a lot in recognition of seeing some of my experiences as an only child reflected, and I was amazed at the diversity in family structure in the essayists. Some folks hated being an only child ... Read full review

Review: Only Child: Writers on the Singular Joys and Solitary Sorrows of Growing Up Solo, 1st Edition

User Review  - Shannon - Goodreads

I was hoping this collection of short essays would help push me one way or the other on the whole "should we have a second child debate". So by that standard, it is a total failure. However, a few of ... Read full review

Contents

Party of One
1
Postcards to Myself
11
Imaginary Enemies
35
Copyright

9 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

DEBORAH SIEGEL is the author of Sisterhood, Interrupted: From Radical Women to Grrls Gone Wild. She has written for Psychology Today and The Progressive and is a founding editor of The Scholar & Feminist Online.

DAPHNE UVILLER is a former editor and current contributing writer to Time Out New York. She has been published in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Newsday, The Forward, Allure, and Self. Both editors are only children.

Bibliographic information