Review: The Residential
Edgewater resident, sociologist Amy Neustein, has turned her own devastating experiences, and almost two decades of extensive research and study of the plight of mothers attempting to protect their children from sexual abuse by their spouses, partners or exes, into a startling and convincing expose of the family court system in the United States. Neustein's book, co-authored by attorney Michael Lesher and entitled From Madness to Mutiny: Why Mothers Are Running from the Family Courts —and What Can be Done about It (University Press of New England) offers a thorough and meticulous accounting of both court cases and academic studies spanning twenty years and coming from all over the US. The authors supplement exhaustive research with many harrowing, all-too-real-life anecdotes. Most importantly, Neustein and Lesher propose a sane, realistic and comprehensive set of legislative and policy changes that, if adopted, could finally help to transform our family courts from instruments of punishment to true institutions of justice.
Though it will be appearing in bookstores around Mother’s Day, this disturbing and haunting examination of a family court system that one mother describes as “a bad dream that you can't wake up from” is anything but a sweetness and light-filled Mother's Day greeting card. While most mothers will be absolutely delighted to celebrate with a bouquet of flowers and a family brunch at the local IHOP, for hundreds of victims throughout the US, a book shining an unflinching light on the abuses they have suffered at the hands of misguided family court judges with too much absolute power and too little critical oversight is the only Mother’s Day gift that matters. And while it is often tempting to look away from the unvarnished truth, you will find this a hard book to put down, because it is a book that matters. It matters if you care about mothers and the children they must sometimes be willing to do anything, and sacrifice everything, to protect. It matters if you care about justice, and are ready to pull back the curtain to reveal the ugly truth of how justice can be distorted, and how the victims of this most insidious form of sexual abuse are further victimized while the perpetrators are rewarded. And it matters if you want to know what this dark secret about our family court system tells us about our culture, and what can be done to rectify and change that awful message.