Apter, Terri 1949–

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Apter, Terri 1949–

(T.E. Apter, Terri E. Apter)

PERSONAL: Born February 28, 1949, in Chicago, IL; daughter of Nathaniel (a psychoanalyst) and Julia (an ophthalmologist; maiden name, Tutleman) Apter; married David Newbery (an economist), July 5, 1975; children: Miranda, Julia. Education: University of Edinburgh, M.A., 1969; Cambridge University, Ph.D., 1987.

ADDRESSES: Home—9 Huntingdon Rd., Cambridge CB3 0HH, England. Agent—Michael Thomas, A.M. Heath & Co. Ltd., 79 St. Martin's Lane, London WC1N 4DD, England. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, English and American literature teacher; professor of social psychology; writer.

AWARDS, HONORS: Notable book of the year selection, New York Times, 1990, for Altered Loves: Mothers and Daughters during Adolescence; Delta Kappa Gamma International Educators' Award, 1998.

WRITINGS:

Why Women Don't Have Wives: Professional Success and Motherhood, Schocken (New York, NY), 1985.

Loose Relations: Your In-Laws and You, Macmillan (Hampshire, England), 1986.

Altered Loves: Mothers and Daughters during Adolescence, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1990.

Working Women Don't Have Wives: Professional Success in the 1990s, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1993.

Secret Paths: Women in the New Midlife, Norton (New York, NY), 1995.

The Confident Child: Raising a Child to Try, Learn, and Care, Norton (New York, NY), 1997.

(With Ruthellen Josselson) Best Friends: The Pleasures and Perils of Girls' and Women's Friendships, Crown (New York, NY), 1998.

The Myth of Maturity: What Teenagers Need from Parents to Become Adults, Norton (New York, NY), 2001.

You Don't Really Know Me: Why Mothers & Daughters Fight and How Both Can Win, Norton (New York, NY), 2004.

AS T.E. APTER

Silken Lines and Silver Hooks, Heinemann (London, England), 1976.

Adonis' Garden, Heinemann (London, England), 1977.

Thomas Mann: The Devil's Disciple, New York University Press (New York, NY), 1978.

Virginia Woolf: A Study of Her Novels, New York University Press (New York, NY), 1979.

Fantasy Literature: An Approach to Reality, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1982.

Also contributor to periodicals, including Mother and Cosmopolitan.

SIDELIGHTS: In her 1990 book, Altered Loves: Mothers and Daughters during Adolescence, Terri Apter questions the validity of the view that mothers and teenaged daughters have volatile relationships. Previous familial theories suggested the inevitability of frequent conflicts between an overbearing, critical, jealous mother and a hostile, surly, rebellious adolescent trying to break ties with her parent. However, through interviews with sixty-five pairs of mothers and daughters, Apter unearthed a more positive hypothesis. Although the author admits this relationship involves unavoidable arguments, she discovered both parties downplayed the seriousness of such squabbles. Apter found that most daughters she spoke to complimented their mothers for their continual emotional support, while mothers mentioned that, in contrast to a popular assumption, their daughters' adolescent years were not marked by excessive turmoil and attempts at separation. Apter argues that teenagers distance themselves to work out their own individuality, not to back away from the affection and guidance of their parents. Carol Tavris, reviewing Altered Loves in the New York Times Book Review, remarked that Apter's "analysis of mothers and daughters during adolescence is simply wonderful—a fresh vision that blows away old stereotypes…. It is a model of lucid research and writing."

Apter has also challenged the notion that women lose more than they gain as they age in Secret Paths: Women in the New Midlife. Instead of emotionally declining as they approach menopause, Apter argues that women in their forties are stepping over the threshold of a new personal awakening, and that they come out on the other side with a self-awareness that causes them to view themselves not as who they are, but as who they have become. Remarking on the lack of constructive literature on"women and aging," Deborah Anna Luepnitz, contributor to Women's Review of Books, stated that"Terry Apter's nimble prose sets her book apart from the rest. "While Luepnitz faulted the author for failing to delve further into the lives of unmarried women and lesbians ("The word 'lesbian' does not appear anywhere in this book."), the reviewer felt that "Apter succeeds admirably in avoiding the twin misconceptions of midlife as partial death or no big deal," and commented that "Secret Paths is a valuable book." In further praise for the book, Booklist contributor Patricia Monaghan wrote: "Not only carefully theorized, Apter's work is also written in a vigorous and provocative manner that makes it a pleasure to read."

For her Best Friends: The Pleasures and Perils of Girls' and Women's Friendships, Apter collaborated with writer and psychotherapist Ruthellen Josselson to study female friendships and how they effect the sense of self in girls and young women as they grow into adults. Best Friends affirms that female friendships are integral to the development of confidence and individuality in young women, and that while such unions often result in painful confrontations and betrayals, these habitual interactions are vital if young women are to achieve emotional stability. One Publishers Weekly contributor regarded the book as an "interesting and accessible analysis." Library Journal contributor Elizabeth Goeters also found value in the book, defining it as a "very well documented and interesting study."

In her next assessment of relationships and their social correlations, The Myth of Maturity: What Teenagers Need from Parents to Become Adults, Apter shifts her focus to parents and their twenty-something children. Apter theorizes that young adults often suffer from their parents' eagerness to cut them loose during college and after graduation. While she recognizes that parents do this not to be malicious, but to allow their children some "real world" experience, Apter feels that this is a mistake, often leading to depression and anxiety—sometimes severe—in young adults who feel they have been abandoned by their parents.

The examination of the mother-daughter relationship resurfaces in You Don't Really Know Me: Why Mothers & Daughters Fight and How Both Can Win. In this book, Apter scrutinizes relationships between adolescent girls and their mothers to determine the root of the communication issues and tensions that are common to mother-daughter relationships, as well as to formulate a solution to these problems. She told an interviewer for People: "There is a strong theory of adolescence that girls want a kind of psychological divorce from their parents—that they want to cut ties." After interviewing several girls and their mothers, the author concludes that this is not the case. Instead, Apter finds that daughters are constantly challenging their mothers, and that mothers who refrain from yelling at, judging, or forcing upset daughters into unsolicited conversations will have more effective communications with their daughters. One Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that Apter's advice in You Don't Really Know Me is "sound, if not revolutionary."

Apter told CA: "As the daughter of a psychoanalyst, I grew up with a fascination for the study of mind, but also with a keen awareness of how traditional theory can limit and frustrate a child's self-understanding. In my writing, I try to underline the enormous variety of human responses, and hence I often challenge the narrowness of established views. Human development at its best is flexible, and writers discussing development should exhibit a complementary flexibility."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, fall, 1992, Mary Lou Balassone, review of Altered Loves: Mothers and Daughters during Adolescence, p. 115.

Booklist, June 1, 1995, Patricia Monaghan, review of Secret Paths: Women in the New Midlife, p. 1698; May 15, 2001, Vanessa Bush, review of The Myth of Maturity, p. 1712.

Books & Bookman, March, 1979, review of Thomas Mann: The Devil's Disciple, p. 61.

Books & Culture, May, 2002, review of The Myth of Maturity: What Teenagers Need from Parents to Become Adults, p. 27.

Book World, August 13, 1995, review of Fantasy Literature: An Approach to Reality, p. 6; June 3, 2001, review of The Myth of Maturity, p. 4.

British Book News, October, 1985, review of Why Women Don't Have Wives: Professional Success and Motherhood, p. 593.

Choice, September, 1979, review of Thomas Mann, p. 842; February, 1980, review of Virginia Woolf: A Study of Her Novels, p. 1578; December, 1982, review of Fantasy Literature, p. 575; December, 1985, review of Why Women Don't Have Wives, p. 633; May, 1994, M. M. Ferree, review of Working Women Don't Have Wives: Professional Success in the 1990s, p. 1508; January, 1996, C. Adamsky, review of Secret Paths, p. 877.

Clinical Social Worker Journal, winter, 1997, Sharon McQuaide, review of Secret Paths, p. 471.

Entertainment Weekly, October 16, 1998, Alexandra Jacobs, review of Best Friends: The Pleasures and Perils of Girl's and Women' Friendships, p. 82.

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 1985, review of Why Women Don't Have Wives, p. 1109; November 15, 1993, review of Working Women Don't Have Wives, p. 1428; April 15, 1995, review of Secret Paths, p. 519; June 15, 1998, review of Best Friends, p. 859.

Kliatt, April, 1992, review of Altered Loves, p. 31.

Library Journal, November 15, 1985, Suzanne Druehl, review of Why Women Don't Have Wives, p. 106; February 1, 1994, Patty Miller, review of Working Women Don't Have Wives, p. 90; June 1, 1995, Kathleen L. Atwood, review of Secret Paths, p. 144; October 15, 1998, Elizabeth Goeters, review of Best Friends, p. 85; June 15, 2001, Linda Beck, review of The Myth of Maturity, p. 96; October 1, 2001, review of The Myth of Maturity, p. 70; April 15, 2004, Mirela Roncevic, "The Mother Knot," review of You Don't Really Know Me: Why Mothers & Daughters Fight and How Both Can Win, p. 110.

Listener, February 17, 1977, review of Adonis' Garden, p. 221.

Modern Fiction Studies, summer, 1980, review of Virginia Woolf, p. 282; summer, 1981, review of Thomas Mann, p. 406; summer, 1983, review of Fantasy Literature, p. 350.

New Statesman, February 4, 1977, Paddy Beesley, review of Adonis' Garden, p. 163.

New York Times Book Review, July 1, 1990, Carol Tavris, review of Altered Loves, p. 64; January 30, 1994, Alice Kessler-Harris, review of Working Women Don't Have Wives, p. 63; March 30, 1997, review of Fantasy Literature, p. 24.

Observer (London, England), January 11, 1976, review of Silken Lines and Silver Hooks, p. 21; February 6, 1977, review of Adonis' Garden, p. 31.

Publishers Weekly, May 15, 1995, review of Secret Paths, p. 66; December 30, 1996, review of Fantasy Literature, p. 64; March 24, 1997, review of The Confident Child: Raising a Child to Try, Learn, and Care, p. 78; June 15, 1998, Best Friends, p. 47; May 21, 2001, review of The Myth of Maturity, p. 104; February 23, 2004, review of You Don't Really Know Me, p. 61.

Reference & Research Book News, November, 2001, review of The Myth of Maturity, p. 131.

Review of English Studies, May, 1981, review of Virginia Woolf, p. 237.

Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review, July, 1983, review of Fantasy Literature, p. 19.

Times Literary Supplement, January 16, 1976, review of Silken Lines and Silver Hooks, p. 51; March 18, 1977, review of Adonis' Garden, p. 325; October 5, 2001, review of The Myth of Maturity, p. 35; June 4, 2004, Katherine Duncan-Jones, "Forever Embedded," review of You Don't Really Know Me, p. 36.

Tribune Books, March 3, 1997, review of Fantasy Literature, p. 8; May 26, 2002, review of The Myth of Maturity, p. 7.

Women's Review of Books, February, 1996, review of Secret Paths, p. 15.

World Literature Today, spring, 1980, review of Thomas Mann, p. 279; summer, 1983, review of Fantasy Literature, p. 517.

ONLINE

Terri Apter Home Page, http://www.motherinlawstories.com (October 21, 2005).