Children's Secrets

Children's Secrets

Children's Secrets

Children's Secrets

Excerpt

All of us as children and adults have kept a fair number of secrets, or at least promised to keep them. At one point in our lives the promise not to tell a living soul of a certain matter became the essence of our bond of friendship. At another point in our lives our secret keeping not only strengthened our bond of friendship but allowed others, perhaps, to lighten their burden. Secret keeping, in other words, offers protection now and again, just as it enhances human attachments. Naturally, if secrets bond some people more closely together, they also can play a divisive role in friendships. All a child has to do to cause frenzy in another child is announce that an important secret is being kept. Hell hath no fury, one might say, like a child denied access to secrets.

This is a book about children's secrets. It is, moreover, a personal book in that it presents a series of portraits, life studies of children who share one personal trait in common: They all are keeping secret some significant story about their family. It is also a personal book in the sense that my own involvement with and investment in these children cannot for a minute be disguised.

For more than twelve years I have been researching families, listening to parents and children speak about their lives, their hopes and ideals as well as their regrets and misgivings. During this time I

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