In a postscript to Bad Childhood, Good Life, Dr. Laura Schlessinger reveals that she became choked up immediately after writing the book's last line, something that hadn't happened with any of her previous eight books. Why did the subject of unhappy childhoods have such an emotional impact on the author? I was deeply moved by the courage and character displayed by people who have suffered significant pain at the hands of others they should have been able to trust and count on, she writes.
In what Dr. Laura describes as probably the most important book I've ever written, she offers advice to adults who were neglected, beaten, unloved, manipulated or betrayed as children. Judging from the many real-world examples she provides from her patients and radio listeners, this constitutes a very large group indeed. Many women find themselves unable to sustain a loving relationship because they expect all men to act like their cruel/alcoholic/deadbeat fathers. Some men limit their expectations for success in life because of the negative perceptions they absorbed from their super-critical mothers. Still others are mired in suffering and bitterness, unable to move beyond their past and on to what Dr. Laura calls the Good Life. Though she sympathizes with their agonizing struggles, the doctor delivers her usual no-nonsense solution get over it. A life locked in the past will never bring happiness. Instead, she urges readers to conquer their childhoods and become victors rather than victims. To accomplish this, she advocates both small, practical steps (keep a journal) and larger, bolder moves (write a kiss-off letter to the person who hurt you). Through it all, Dr. Laura advises, keep in mind that you alone are responsible for the life you live today.