The premise of this non-fiction book is that sibling relations are among the most important relations in our life. Kluger tried to prove that what we are is governed not only by our parents (who unavoidably play favorites, causing their children to struggle from birth to establish their own identity to catch parents’ attention), but most particularly by our siblings. However, the book discusses much more than the mere birth order effect. Our siblings teach us about all aspects of relationships: they teach us about getting along and fighting, letting go, favoritism, competitiveness and compassion. The relationship among siblings is also the longest relationship we will maintain.
Kluger presents intriguing studies of identical twins. He discusses the consequences of China's one child policy, and explains the unusual preferences of historical Japanese society for the first born child to be a girl. Kluger talks about the damaging results of divorce on children and provides guidance how to soften the impact.
Jeffrey Kluger is a science writer but this book combines scientific research with components of an autobiography, as Kluger has multiple siblings and reflects many times on observations from his own childhood.
This book does not use any incomprehensible scienctific language or medical terms. It is an entertaining as well as educational read for anybody who is trying to resolve lingering childhood questions or dilemmas. The Sibling Effect is also a good resource for parents who want to learn more about their children's unique qualities and temperament.