The Canadian Family in Crisis


253 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55028-286-7
DDC 306.8'5'0971




Reviewed by James S. Frideres

J.S. Frideres is Associate Dean (Research) of the Faculty of Social
Sciences at the University of Calgary and co-author of Prairie


Another book in the field of family studies would normally go unnoticed.
But this author, trying to break into the popular market, has written a
book for the general public. The format and layout reflect pocketbook
fiction. The book, nevertheless, is scholarly.

It is divided into five sections, beginning with a brief overview of
past, present, and future family structures. In the first section, the
author develops the thesis that our changing social structure has
produced a crisis in the family. The next three sections focus on the
victims of this crisis: children, women, and men, respectively. In each
of these sections are three chapters which, in turn, focus on the
economic, emotional, and physical insecurities of the groups of victims.
The final section focuses on potential directions for family and
feminist policy.

The author’s style is a dry, unstimulating narrative with statistics
about the family and the individual units it comprises—husbands,
wives, and children, in various combinations (single-parent families).
But there are strengths in this book: for example, the innumerable
excellent statistics about the current Canadian family. The author,
however, does not discriminate between theoretically important data,
interesting, popular data, and data that could be misleading to readers.
These data could often have been presented in table form: the book would
have been easier to read.

In the end, the book is a descriptive statement about family issues
without sociological analysis. The author has tried to distill a
tremendous amount of previous research on the Canadian family so that
simple, declarative statements can be made. An admirable undertaking,
yet one that fails to appreciate the complexities of everyday life.


Conway, John Frederick., “The Canadian Family in Crisis,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024,