I found this book thought-provoking and easy to read. I like the distinction Wendy Aronsson makes when she refers to the empty nest stage as a shift rather than a syndrome. Calling it a syndrome has the connotation that it is abnormal. She stresses that it is a normal but challenging adjustment for parents. Aronsson is a psychotherapist and she tells her own story as well as recounting the stories of many others. Interwoven with the stories is good, solid advice. Aronsson says you need to look at your empty nest from a 360-degree perspective. In this way, you can start to see all the fibers interwoven in it – and to realize that it is evolving rather than empty.
The book consists of eight chapters and in part one she defines what she refers to as the Shift and its phases.She describes the Shift as “a phase that represents a profound change from the daily rigors of constant parenting to a period of self-reflection and reorientation.” In the second part, she looks at the array of emotions and circumstances experienced by parents. Finally, she deals with the journey after the shift that is full of unexpected changes and possibilities. You will read how other people have dealt with changes and you will resonate closely with some stories and perhaps not so much with others. Some people have managed to reignite the passion in their relationship whilst others have moved on from bad relationships. Many people have rediscovered their talents and discovered new interests. You will also read about how people have reinvented their relationships with their children.
Some people have felt that the book is too expensive and others that it did not really offer anything new. However, if you are looking for information, sound advice and inspiration from the stories of others, you will find this book helpful. It has been chosen as a finalist in the Relationships category for the 19th Annual Books for a Better Life Awards and it was selected from nearly 500 submissions received in ten self-improvement related categories.