Within the Circle
When American anthropologist Andrea Rugh rented a room in a small Syrian village, hoping to find time to finish a book she was writing, she never expected to be drawn so deeply into the lives of her neighbors. But she developed close friendships with two households those of her landlady and her landlady's sister. For eight months Rugh observed and wrote about the lives of these two families and their ten children. The result is a uniquely intimate account of family life and child rearing in Middle Eastern society.
Within the Circle is a detailed, vividly crafted portrait of families in a changing world, chronicling the day-to-day life among family members, between parents and children, and between families and the larger world of the village. The book results from the personal quest of the author to understand the cultural aspects of her own child rearing practices. She contrasts her experiences as an American mother raising three independent, self-sufficient boys with the experiences of village parents striving to form a closely-knit family unit.