Doing the Best I Can by Kathryn Edin

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review



Across the political spectrum, unwed fatherhood is denounced as one of the leading social problems of today. Doing the Best I Can is a strikingly rich, paradigm-shifting look at fatherhood among inner-city men often dismissed as "deadbeat dads." Kathryn Edin and Timothy J. Nelson examine how couples in challenging straits come together and get pregnant so quickly—without planning. The authors chronicle the high hopes for forging lasting family bonds that pregnancy inspires, and pinpoint the fatal flaws that often lead to the relationship’s demise. They offer keen insight into a radical redefinition of family life where the father-child bond is central and parental ties are peripheral.

Drawing on years of fieldwork, Doing the Best I Can shows how mammoth economic and cultural changes have transformed the meaning of fatherhood among the urban poor. Intimate interviews with more than 100 fathers make real the significant obstacles faced by low-income men at every step in the familial process: from the difficulties of romantic relationships, to decision-making dilemmas at conception, to the often celebratory moment of birth, and finally to the hardships that accompany the early years of the child's life, and beyond.


About Kathryn Edin

See more books from this Author
Kathryn Edin is Professor of Public Policy and Management at the Kennedy School of Government and a Faculty Affiliate with the Sociology Department at Harvard University. She is the coauthor of Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage and Making Ends Meet: How Low Income Single Mothers Survive Welfare and Low Wage Work.Timothy Nelson is Lecturer in Social Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is the author of Every Time I Feel the Spirit: Religious Experience and Ritual in an African American Church.
Published June 1, 2013 by University of California Press. 294 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Doing the Best I Can

Social commentators as diverse as Bill Cosby, Louis Farrakhan, and Gloria Steinem have lamented the absence of fathers in the lives of inner-city children. In contrast, Edin (public policy & management; Promises I Can Keep) and Nelson (social policy; Every Time I Feel the Spirit), both at Harvard...

Jun 01 2013 | Read Full Review of Doing the Best I Can

Reader Rating for Doing the Best I Can

An aggregated and normalized score based on 8 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review