You're Wearing That?, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Deborah Tannen's No. 1 New York Times bestseller You Just Don't Understand revolutionized communication between women and men. Mothers and daughters often misunderstand each other as they struggle to find the right balance between closeness and independence.

They both want to be seen for who they really are, but tend to see the other as failing short of who she should be.

Each overestimates the other's power and underestimates her own.

Deborah Tannen examines every aspect of this complex dynamic, from the dark side that can shadow a woman throughout her life, to the new technologies like e-mail and Instant Messaging that are transforming mother-daughter communication. With groundbreaking insights, pitch-perfect dialogues, and deeply moving memories of her own mother, Tannen untangles the knots daughters and mothers can get tied up in.

Eye-opening and heart-felt, You're Wearing THAT? illuminates and enriches one of the most important relationships in our lives.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Intergenerational relationships
  • ISBN: 9781844084067



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I have heard this book called Tannen's "least scholarly" to date. That is a shame. Certainly, this book does not delve into the specifics and technical details of linguistic analysis as much as her others do, but it does not pretend to. Tannen starts out explaining why she writes books that anyone can read. She calls herself a sociolinguist and then relegates the nuts and bolts of how she does her analysis to the background, concentrating instead on what the analysis means. And she does so with an aim--to help people understand a very common, and often contentious, relationship in a deeper and more loving way. Her penchant for the "aha factor" (if it's true, it will make you say "aha!") is certainly at work here, as any woman who reads this will recognise aspects of herself and her own family relationships. This is an emotionally moving work and one that acknowledges that the way people actually talk, which so many linguists prize their analyses of, is not the way we have to talk, and that by understanding what we do, we could in fact choose to do things differently. This is discourse analysis with a purpose: to benefit others, to bring people closer, to help the average person see things in another light. If that is not scholarly, that is a shame. Scholarship would do well to care as much about human relationships as Tannen clearly does.