Fern Schumer Chapman understands the pain of sibling estrangement firsthand. For the better part of forty years, she had nearly no relationship with her only brother, despite many attempts at reconnection. Her grief and shame were devastating and isolating. But when she tried to turn to others for help, she found that a profound stigma still surrounded estrangement, and that very little statistical and psychological research existed to help her better understand the rift that had broken up her family. So she decided to conduct her own research, interviewing psychologists and estranged siblings as well as recording the extraordinary story of her own rift with her brother–and subsequent reconciliation.
Brothers, Sisters, Strangers is the result–a thoughtfully researched memoir that illuminates both the author’s own story and the greater phenomenon of estrangement. Chapman helps readers work through the challenges of rebuilding a sibling relationship that seems damaged beyond repair, as well as understand when estrangement is the best option. It is at once a detailed framework for understanding sibling estrangement, a beacon of solidarity and comfort for the estranged, and a moving memoir about family trauma, addiction, grief, and recovery.