When You Care: The Unexpected Magic of Caring for Others (Hardcover)

When You Care: The Unexpected Magic of Caring for Others By Elissa Strauss Cover Image

When You Care: The Unexpected Magic of Caring for Others (Hardcover)


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In this “brilliantly argued and timely book” (Brigid Schulte, New York Times bestselling author), journalist Elissa Strauss explores the powerful role caring for others plays in our individual and communal lives, weaving together research about care and stories from parents and caregivers with a feminist bent.

Behind our current caregiving crisis, in which a broken system has left parents and caregivers exhausted, sits a fierce addiction to independence. But what would happen if we started to appreciate dependency, and the deep meaning of one person caring for another? If we start to care about care?

Drawing on research into parenting and caregiving, as well as her own experiences as a mother, journalist Elissa Strauss delves into the history and power of care in our lives and communities. With a curiosity and desire to more fully understand one of humanity’s most profound and essential relationships, she interrogates our societal obsession with going it alone, and poses a challenge to let ourselves be transformed by the act of caregiving.

When You Care weaves historical anecdotes and science with conversations with parents and caregivers to the young, old, disabled, ill, and more, revealing a rich array of insights about how care shapes us on the inside and the outside, for the better. Care is a long-ignored force in our collective and political lives, as well as a deeply philosophical, spiritual, and psychologically potent experience. Moreso, an embrace of care by both women and men will lead to a more gender equitable future and help us reimagine what it means to be productive and live a meaningful life. The result is an eye-opening exploration into the power of being depended on—and a stirring call to action to finally acknowledge the breadth, depth, and beauty of all that caregivers do.
Elissa Strauss has been a journalist, essayist, and opinion writer for the past fifteen years. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Glamour, Elle, Allure, The American Prospect, and elsewhere. She’s been a contributing writer for CNN where she covered the culture and politics of parenthood, as well as at Slate, where she wrote on feminism and motherhood. From 2011–2017, she was the coartistic director of LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture in New York City, and in 2020, she launched a hub in the Bay Area, where she is currently the artistic director. She lives in Oakland, California, with her family.

Product Details ISBN: 9781982169275
ISBN-10: 1982169273
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: April 23rd, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English
"What an urgent and necessary book. Strauss understands care as labor that has been unremunerated, unrecognized, made practically invisible by a culture that fetishizes independence. She works to correct this undervaluation, elegantly arguing that the care we take of others is the very stuff of life, that it shapes the way we love, the space we take up in the world, our relationships with those we love and with ourselves. Would that our policy makers read and truly absorb this deeply researched, thoughtful and persuasive book."  —Rebecca Traister, New York Times bestselling author of All the Single Ladies and Good and Mad

"In this brilliantly argued and timely book, Elissa Strauss takes on centuries of theology, philosophy, science, economics and the pervasive cultural attitudes that have for too long diminished care as a woman’s burden, offered shallow praise, or erased care entirely from our history. Instead, she calls for a total reimagining of care, one that demands we see that it is in our relationships to one another, the way we give and receive care, that we are all able to be most fully human. And rather than keep care tucked in the margins, it is time to acknowledge, celebrate and support how central care is to life itself." —Brigid Schulte, award-winning journalist, author of the New York Times bestselling Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, and director of The Better Life Lab at New America

"A deeply researched—and deeply felt—exploration of the beautiful truth about care: that we find, feed and know ourselves through our relationships. When You Care is a pleasure to read: bold, brave, and exquisitely written." —Judith Warner, author of And Then They Stopped Talking to Me: Making Sense of Middle School and the New York Times-bestselling Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety

“In When You Care, Elissa Strauss has written an essential book. Although she writes it from the perspective of a mother, it’s not only for mothers but for all of humankind. A revolutionary, she doesn’t deliver her message in loud and hectoring tones, but instead in beautifully sensitive prose brimming with warmth and compassion. She’s not only showing us the way to the next stage of feminism but to humanism—the full recognition of what it means to take responsibility not only for our lives but also for one another.” —Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of Plato at the Googolplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away and recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and the National Medal of the Humanities

"When You Care is a fascinating, expansive exploration of care—the boundless forms it takes, the depth of what it means to care, and care as both a foundation and a call to action. Bursting with intricate research and thoughtful stories, this book examines and centers care in ways that are both profoundly stirring and deeply necessary." —Rainesford Stauffer, author of An Ordinary Age and All the Gold Stars

When You Care is destined to be a modern classic. It presents a long overdue and urgent case for why embracing care is the key to unlocking our potential as a society. Strauss has made the invisible work of care visible and argues brilliantly for its value. A must read." —Eve Rodsky, New York Times bestselling author of Fair Play

“In a world that values independence, [Strauss] asserts that caring for others has become largely underrated. But what if we looked at caring as an opportunity to bring meaning and purpose into others' lives? What if there were financial and emotional help for caregivers? [...] Strauss presents a convincing case for valuing and aiding in this vital task, as well as appreciating the lessons it teaches. This would be overdue recognition for many overworked and underpaid caregivers.” —Booklist

“A deep exploration of caregiving’s potential to shape individuals and societies in positive ways…Specific, frank, refreshing observations about the impact of care.” —Kirkus