Fine, Carla 1946-
FINE, Carla 1946-
PERSONAL: Born May 29, 1946, in New York, NY; daughter of Benjamin (a writer and educator) and Lillian (a professor of literature; maiden name, Chafetz) Fine; married Harry Reiss (a physician), September 3, 1968 (died, 1989). Education: New York University, B.A., 1968; Columbia University, M.S. (with honors), 1969.
ADDRESSES: Home and Office—477 West 22nd St., New York, NY 10011. Agent—Wendy Lipkind Agency, 225 East 57th St., New York, NY 10022.
CAREER: Colony Reporter (weekly newspaper), Guadalajara, Mexico, assistant editor, 1969-73; writer, 1973—. Lecturer on the role of contemporary women in America to groups throughout the United States and South America, 1981—.
MEMBER: Authors Guild.
Barron's Guide to Foreign Medical Schools, Barron's (Woodbury, NY), 1979.
Married to Medicine: An Intimate Portrait of Doctors' Wives, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1981.
No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1997.
Strong, Smart, and Bold: Empowering Girls for Life, Cliff Street Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Contributor of articles to periodicals, including Cosmopolitan, Omni, and Woman's Day.
SIDELIGHTS: Carla Fine interviewed more than one hundred physicians' spouses and combined that information with scientific data to write Married to Medicine: An Intimate Portrait of Doctors' Wives. In a review for the Washington Post Book World, Carol Eron called the book a "thoughtful and thorough work" with "much specific information … that will interest anyone who is closely related to, or contemplating becoming closely related to, a physician, as well as future doctors themselves."
In 1989, Fine's physician husband committed suicide. Faced with a range of emotions from anger and despair to shame and confusion, Fine sought help from books but could not find any that spoke to her particular situation. She wrote No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One in an attempt to reach out to other spouses and close family members who were living in the aftermath of a relative's suicide. Booklist correspondent Brian McCombie called No Time to Say Goodbye "a compassionate guide for dealing with the guilt, anger, and confusion." The reviewer concluded that the book is "sensitive and curative." John Langone in the New York Times likewise praised the title, deeming it "helpful" and noting that it "does much to lighten the anguish that suicide and contemplating it spawn."
Strong, Smart, and Bold: Empowering Girls for Life is based on the programs offered by Girls Inc., an advocacy group for girls aged six through eighteen. Fine's book outlines the principles behind Girls Inc. and offers practical advice on enhancing self-esteem, recognizing gender stereotypes, and finding meaningful lifelong interests. Kay Brodie in Library Journal felt that the "very readable" work "fills a niche in the market of parenting books."
Fine told CA: "My father, Benjamin Fine, is the author of more than twenty-eight books, and the sound of the typewriter has always been a source of comfort and inspiration for me. The written word, both in fiction and nonfiction, gives me a sense of purpose and identity.
"Mothers still advise their daughters to 'marry a nice doctor who will take care of you.' Marriage to a physician provides instant status, economic stability, and association with the most respected profession in the United States. Yet, for most women married to physicians, it means constantly disrupted plans, unpredictable hours, and a vast amount of time spent alone. In a society where being married, having children, and acquiring material wealth are often equated with the happy ending of the female American marital dream, the essential need for a woman to establish her own identity apart from her husband's accomplishments is often overlooked.
"The ironies involved in the discrepancies between appearance and reality in the lives of doctors' wives—and other women who are also married to highly successful professional men—are important to examine and explore. The majority of women married to physicians don't want to be known as 'Mrs. Doctor' any more."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 1, 1996, Brian McCombie, review of No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One, p. 624.
Critic, August, 1981.
Library Journal, March 1, 2001, Kay Brodie, review of Strong, Smart, and Bold: Empowering Girls for Life, p. 122.
New York Times, November 19, 2002, John Langone, "Two Perspectives on Suicide," p. F7.
Publishers Weekly, November 4, 1996, review of No Time to Say Goodbye, p. 56.
Washington Post Book World, April 5, 1981.
Carla Fine Home Page, http://www.carlafine.com (September 26, 2003).*