Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Love's Promises by Martha M. Ertman

Librarything does it again! I was lucky enough to receive an Early Reviewer Copy of Love's Promises: How Formal and Informal Contracts Shape All Kinds of Families (Queer Ideas/Queer Action), by Martha M. Ertman. Thank you, Librarything!


I'm going to start by saying that I don't love the title or the cover. The title (not the subtitle, but the main title - Love's Promises) sounds like a romance novel, and in fact when I tried to find the Powell's link for the page for this book, about a dozen romance books came up before Ertman's book. The cover, with a white background and red cups, looks like a Christian self-help book to me. I think this is unfortunate, as the contents were something else entirely.

Love's Promises: How Formal and Informal Contracts Shape All Kinds of Families (Queer Ideas/Queer Action) is written by Martha Ertman. Ertman is a lawyer, biological mother to her young son, in a committed relationship with a woman, and is co-parenting her son with his (gay) biological father and her partner. Not a conventional situation!

And that's the point of this book. Many of us are not in conventional marriage or family relationships, and can experience challenges with the legal system's inability to recognize and honor these less traditional relationships.

Ertman uses her own life to illustrate that more and more people are involved in less conventional (she calls them "Plan B") situations that are not directly addressed by family law.

Many of us not in conventional marriage or family relationships could benefit from her insight into the legal as well as the unofficial aspects of creating and honoring all sorts of relationships with contracts. She talks in depth about formal and informal contracts that help define and protect relationships.

I appreciated Ertman's affirming tone as well as her concrete ideas for protecting and recognizing the significance, importance, and rights in the relationships that are most important to us.

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