Review: Family Don’t End With Blood, Lynn S Zubernis

November 25, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review: Family Don’t End With Blood, Lynn S ZubernisFamily Don't End with Blood: Cast and Fans on How Supernatural Has Changed Lives by Lynn S. Zubernis, Laurena Aker
Published by BenBella Books on May 19 2017
Pages: 256
Source: My copy
Amazon • Amazon UK • Book Depository • Bookworld

How a Show, and the Support of Its Fandom, Changed—and Saved—Lives

May 2017 marks the end of the twelfth season of the CW hit Supernatural, a television show about two demon-hunting brothers (and an angel) that is at the center of a fan community as tight-knit as family—a virtual support system that spans the globe. The three-time People’s Choice Award winner for Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show and Tumblr’s 2015 Most Reblogged “Live Action TV” show has made a name for itself by supporting and encouraging its fans to “always keep fighting,” a main theme echoed in the show, and demonstrating the inspiring truth to a memorable line from early in the show’s run: “Family don’t end with blood.”

In twenty powerful chapters written by Supernatural’s actors and fans, including series lead Jared Padalecki, Family Don’t End with Blood: How Supernatural Has Changed Lives examines the far reach of the show’s impact over the last eleven years. Supernatural has encouraged fans to change their lives, from getting “sober for Sam” to escaping a cult to pursuing lifelong dreams. But fans aren’t the only ones who have been changed. The actors who bring the show to life have also found, in the show and its community, inspiration, courage, and the strength to keep going when life seemed too hard.

In keeping with the show’s message to “always keep fighting,” and to support the important work of combatting stigma and encouraging those who are struggling to speak out, a portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to charity Attitudes in Reverse, whose mission is to educate young people about mental health and suicide prevention.

Contributors from Supernatural’s cast include:Jared Padelecki (“Sam Winchester”)Jim Beaver (“Bobby Singer”)Ruth Connell (“Rowena MacLeod”)Osric Chau (“Kevin Tran”)Rob Benedict (“Chuck Shurley aka God”)Kim Rhodes (“Sheriff Jody Mills”)Briana Buckmaster (“Sheriff Donna Hanscum”)Matt Cohen (“Young John Winchester”)Gil McKinney (“Henry Winchester”)Rachel Miner (“Meg Masters”)

Edited by Lynn S. Zubernis, a clinical psychologist, professor, and passionate Supernatural fangirl, Family Don’t End with Blood provides an insightful and often uplifting look into the way international fan communities become powerful, positive forces in the lives of so many.

Family Don’t End with Blood is a collection of heartfelt essays about how one television show has changed the lives of viewers, and members of the cast. Some of the stories are joyful celebrations of fandom and learning to express enjoyment of perhaps less-than-mainstream entertainment. Others are frank descriptions of the way Supernatural helped them through traumatic experiences or illnesses.

As a relatively new fan of Supernatural, I wasn’t aware of some of the cast stories. Rob Benedict’s story about his terrifying stroke experience particularly moved me, and while I knew that Jared Padalecki had been getting through depression and anxiety in the past, his eloquent essay was a revealing window into how celebrities, just like the rest of us, need to focus on their own mental health sometimes.

I haven’t (yet) been to a convention purely for one fandom, but I can relate to finding a bunch of close friends through fan groups and shared excitement. The pop culture expos we have here in Brisbane have opened up a world of pure enjoyment to me, and I’ve met some friendly people who love to fangirl about the same things I do. Allowing myself to reveal my geeky side to others has always been pretty nerve-wracking, but I really wish I’d done it a lot earlier, because I’m having the time of my life now, at a time when I have the minimal time to actually engage in any of these things!

Anyway, enough rambling. If you’re a Supernatural fan, you’ll love this book. If not, you should really start watching – you’ve got twelve and a half seasons to catch up on!

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