Review by Mo Hannah, Ph.D., psychology professor,
Siena College, on April 22, 2005, 5 out of 5 stars
This book busts wide open the myths about how mothers and children fare when in the clutches of the family court system.
Neustein and Lesher's well-documented and eminently readable book rips the curtains off the abject degeneration into madness of today's family court system. In searing detail, the book points a much deserved finger of blame at the actors in this legal nightmare--the attorneys, law guardians (lawyers for the children), judges, custody evaluators, and other court “auxiliaries.” Yet more compelling is the book's dissection of the interactions among these legal actors that generate a perverse, upside down reality, one in which what is truly bad for children is deemed to be “in the best interests of the child.” Using the sociological framework of ethnomethodology, the authors outline the “meaning-making” processes by which normal, fit, and loving mothers are labeled as delusional, hysterical, or otherwise mentally deranged, and are ultimately judged unfit to be the custodian of--and, in many cases, have any further contact with--their child--all because the mother made a good-faith report to the court of her child being sexually abused by his or her father. Rather than relying, as they could, on the shock value of this truly despicable scenario to sell their book, the authors include a painstaking and realistic plan for true reform. Absent the massive revisions called for by Neustein and Lesher, the current family court system is a ship captain gone mad, with mutiny its only hope of redemption.
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