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Book Review: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Empty Nesters by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor, et al.

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Chicken Soup for the Soul Empty Nesters, by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Carol McAdoo Rehme,and Patricia Cena Evans, is exactly what it sounds like: a collection of short stories, poems, and whatnot that talk about life after children leave the house and start their own lives.

So what does the typical parent go through? It depends on the individual. Sometimes there is heartbreak: one can no longer be responsible for the actions of an offspring. Relief might come into play as the young adult is finally leaving the house. Many parents find themselves starting completely over on a fresh journey of their own.

For Rehme, this book is stories that she can easily relate to. As a mother of four who flew the coop and started families, she is well experienced in the empty nest syndrome. Evans also understands this topic. She is a midwife by profession, as well as a mentor to other women.

Wisely, the tales are taken from all sides. Those who had a child (or several) show just what being newly independent means. Offspring give readers some glimpses inside a college dorm room or what happens after a relationship moves one into the realm of moving on.

"My Nice Surprise", authored by Cheryl Pierson, recalls a time when her daughter is three. Jessica gets a new baby brother, and mom agrees to get her a gift when she buys him clothes. Suffice it to say Mom does not exactly plan on meeting Jessica's adopted buddy Simon that day, nor would she anticipate the effect he would have on their lives by the time Jessica is ready to move out.

"Send Cookies" from Jean Davidson shows a different kind of leaving. Jean's baby, now a teenager, informs his parents he wishes to join the military. The change he goes through to become a man is much further than any dream anybody could have for him.

"The Christmas Rose" and "Coming Home" are two sides of the same story. Keith Kilby has issues with illegal substances. Karen R. Kilby, Keith's mother, sees the trouble he's in and knows he is the only person who can get him on the path to redemption.

"Adam's Place" by Jean Padgett, is from the perspective of raising a child who has developmental problems. Adam must take a risk, but one small step enables him to thrive in his own unique way.

"For Better or For Worst" is a charming tale passed along by BJ Jensen. A son returning home involves more than one might think. He must move in, and his pregnant soon to be wife comes along for the ride. Add in five dogs, aka the Bumpus Hounds, and one gets a recipe for smiles. Talk about an alarm system….

Sally Kelly-Engeman takes on a new challenge in "A Different Kind of Drummer," once she and her husband are once again living by themselves. Let the belly dancing begin! First things first. Some lessons are in order, which involves finding a group of 14 (plus Sally) whose interest in the sultry movements is peaking so an instructor can be brought in. The results peak her husband's interest too.

Change is imminent when Stephanie Welcher Thompson talks about being "On Edge". The cause has to do with her mom. After both daughters grow up and get going, there is the business of starting a new chapter in life. What better method than to fall in love once more? Thompson has to reconcile her feelings with a newly found maturity.

This short essay collection is divided into sections so a reader can start at the point where the heart resonates the most. However, there is something inside for each person who picks it up and sits down to peruse it.

One hundred and one bits of whatnot means also there will be some parts which do not appeal. Skipping those pieces should not detract from enjoyment in the least. When one has finished, just pass it along to someone else to read through.

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