The Bottom Line
- Provides helpful information
- Contains many grandparent stories
- Offers excellent advice
- Some sections are of limited usefulness
- 176 pages
- Published by Collegare Press
Guide Review - Grand Wishes: Advocating to Preserve the Grandparent-Grandchild Bond
Writing a book about grandparents' visitation rights is a tough assignment. All relevant topics, from the experiences of disenfranchised grandparents to the statutes governing visitation, are subject to so much variation that the would-be author is left with an unwieldy bundle of information to impart. Susan Hoffman volunteered for this assignment, however, and she didn't give up until she had crafted a fairly well-organized, coherent resource. Certainly her book Grand Wishes will be avidly consumed by those who are struggling with this issue.
Two parts of the book are especially compelling. One is the chapter about how loss of contact affects grandparents. I expected the mentions of sadness, sleeplessness and stress-related illnesses. I never thought about how disenfranchised grandparents must envy their more fortunate peers, all the while knowing that their envy is ugly and unjustified. Nor had I considered how grandparents must unconsciously search for their grandchildren everywhere that they go. "One habit I have not broken is looking at every dark-haired boy in Jacob's age group, no matter where I am," Hoffman writes.
The second part that I found really interesting was how Hoffman managed to get California law changed so that a stepparent adoption does not eliminate a grandparent's right to see a grandchild. If you've ever been interested in politics and the legal system, this section will pique your interest. If you're not interested in the subject, the David vs. Goliath aspects of Hoffman's quest--uninitiated grandmother vs. the sprawling California legislative system--make it worth reading.
The book is not without its faults. Large portions are occupied by legislative documents. Other documents are reprinted in their entirety when excerpts would have served as well. A chapter about grandparents' rights in each state is possibly already outdated, given the fluid state of the topic. But the soul of the book lies in the grandparents who tell their tales and the honest emotion they reveal.
For grandparents struggling with visitation issues, Grand Wishes offers information and hope. For others, it provides a window into a truly frightening world, one that we can only hope we never have to enter.
Susan Hoffman has since written another book, A Precious Bond, with detailed advice for grandparents seeking to regain contact with grandchildren. There is also a DVD with the same title that features testimonials from grandparents and advice from experts.
Visit Susan Hoffman at the Advocates for Grandparent-Grandchild Connection website.