Patrick discusses several family gatherings related to the stages of the human life cycle, including birth, coming of age, marriage, and death. She describes the reasons for each celebration and mentions how various cultures commemorate these events. For each event, she also provides a fictionalized account of one family's observance, told from a young child's perspective. Although coverage is incomplete in terms of cultures portrayed and special events described, the point that all families share memorable times is well made. Classes studying the family will find this most useful.