I really connected with the book because I saw in it an explanation of what had happened to me in my childhood. Basically they (mostly my mother, my father was sort of a passive follower) destroyed any relationship they had with me by the time I was 10, and beginning in elementary school they started ignoring us and leaving us alone as much as they could. (Not alone in the house, though there was plenty of that too over the years, but as in physical separation within the house. They watched TV in their room, we watched TV in our own rooms or in the den. Or whatever. Other than at meals, we never spent any time with them.) I longed for and sought out close relationships with adults who could stand in for my parents -- teachers, friends' parents, even my orthodontist! But it wasn't the same. I needed them, and they weren't there for me. I grew up feeling completely unworthy of love. I became peer oriented not because I was an extrovert (I'm not) or really wanted that, but because it was all there was available to me. And while of course I had many positive peer relationships over the years, as well as many negative ones, the lack of parents as a compass point was devastating to my life. I made a lot of bad decisions along the way because I was so desperate and love-starved that I couldn't see when I was being taken advantage of or used, both in "friendships" and in romantic relationships. And these experiences were all the more catastrophic to me emotionally because I didn't have the foundation of my parents' unconditional love as some of my friends did -- and they weathered the storms of adolescence and young adulthood much better than I did, needless to say.
My experience does not describe all families, but I do believe this is common ... probably not among AP-type parents, though. People who grew up with parents who were there for them may not be able to relate to this book and may misinterpret it as being "against peer relationships" ... seen a lot of that in this thread. That's not what it's about at all. The book could just as easily have been called "Don't Abandon Your Kids." FWIW, from the outside my family looked absolutely normal, mainstream, middle class, we went to church every Sunday ... but on the inside everything was rotten. It has taken me many many years to see my parents' emotional and moral abandonment for what it was. If I told them how I see things they would probably be aghast -- they think that they always loved me and probably don't think they did anything wrong. They just don't know what love means or what stepping up to the plate as a parent is. I probably won't ever talk to them about it but I will be damn sure not to replicate their mistakes with my kids.
Honestly though I appreciated a point brought up by a PP, that it is media influence that is the real bugaboo here. Peers can be the method of transmission, but the origin of a lot of the toxic values out there re cruelty, reckless sexuality, excessive focus on physical appearance, and the like, come from the media. I say this as someone who watched TV incessantly and rarely if ever had any limits placed on what I watched or read, and I absorbed those toxic values like a sponge. It took me many years to unlearn them, and I am still working on it. So yeah, I worry about bad influences on my kids because I don't want them to go through what I did.