Black Sheep and Kissing Cousins

Elizabeth Stone, Black Sheep and Kissing Cousins: How Our Family Stories Shape Us (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2008)

Stone - Black Sheep and Kissing Cousins
A college course in storytelling has me back into reading textbooks. In fact there are six books recommended for this course and I plan to read them all. Elizabeth Stone has written a book that is more about understanding family life - a kind a parapsychology book - more than a book about storytelling technique. Nonetheless it offers great understandings for story tellers. Just being able to identify family stories and to understand how certain types of stories find expression in a wide variety of families is a useful process. Stone has interviewed a lot of people in preparation for the book and her telling of their stories in the context of other stories begins to identify the types of stories that we tell about ourselves, our families, and why our lives have turned out the way they have.

Understanding families has a lot of different practical application from human resources management, to pastoral care to telling stories. Understanding how certain stories fit into the context of bigger stories is a boon to all storytellers. The book fits well into the lectures of the class to provide a continuity of understanding.