Promises I Can Keep Promises I Can Keep

Promises I Can Keep

Why Poor Women Put Motherhood before Marriage

    • 4.3 • 3 Ratings
    • $20.99
    • $20.99

Publisher Description

Millie Acevedo bore her first child before the age of 16 and dropped out of high school to care for her newborn. Now 27, she is the unmarried mother of three and is raising her kids in one of Philadelphia's poorest neighborhoods. Would she and her children be better off if she had waited to have them and had married their father first? Why do so many poor American youth like Millie continue to have children before they can afford to take care of them?

Over a span of five years, sociologists Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas talked in-depth with 162 low-income single moms like Millie to learn how they think about marriage and family. Promises I Can Keep offers an intimate look at what marriage and motherhood mean to these women and provides the most extensive on-the-ground study to date of why they put children before marriage despite the daunting challenges they know lie ahead.

October 4
University of California Press
University of California Press

Customer Reviews

Melodone ,

Amazing book!

It really answered many of my questions regarding young mothers and their lives in the inner cities.. it also provided a lot of perspective that gets you thinking and reevaluating your own personal relationships and views on things.

CaptainStudly ,

Insight into the decision-making process of low income mothers

I'm not a sociologist, so I don't have the sort of broad domain exposure that would qualify me to compare this with other work in the field. I can, however, describe what I got from it, and what I'm left wanting. To my knowledge it is unique insofar as it offers a much deeper empirical insight than other works into patterns of what motivates low income mothers to make the decisions they make, and yet it retains a sufficiently broad sample to distinguish it from anecdote. It is the mothers, largely in their own words, on what motivates them, not what people situated in other socio-economic contexts might infer about the subjects' motivations based on their own objective functions and rational processes. To wit, I was, as a liberal, surprised to find that it's not lack of awareness of or access to contraception that results in high rates of teen pregnancy among low income women. Not only was I surprised, but I was surprised to be surprised; that's how deep my own bias had been in that regard. Another misconception the authors dispel is the perhaps more cynical view that the primary motivation is a marginal increase in welfare benefits. So the book is an eye-opener.

I would like to have seen more discussion of alternative theories attempting to explain the aggregate statistics that this book seeks to explain, and more evaluation of the range of possible policy responses, but I take it that these are simply beyond the scope of the book. So in all I have nothing but praise for this book, and I'm very glad to have read it.

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More Books by Kathryn Edin & Maria Kefalas

Doing the Best I Can Doing the Best I Can
It's Not Like I'm Poor It's Not Like I'm Poor
Coming of Age in the Other America Coming of Age in the Other America

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