Archive for April, 2012

Hitched: the Go-Girl Guide to the First Year of Marriage

April 2, 2012

Bourland, Julia. Hitched: the Go-Girl Guide to the First Year of Marriage. Atria: S. & S. 2003. c.240p. ISBN 0-7434-4410-8. pap. $13. SELF-HELP

For this follow-up to The Go-Girl Guide, Bourland conducted telephone interviews with 60 “straight-talking women” who recently tied the knot. Most were college educated, liberal, and living in urban areas, and this book will appeal to a similar, if not identical, demographic. Bourland presents their “cumulative wisdom and experience [to help] shed light on life with a husband.” To her credit, she takes a stand on issues; the result is mostly sound, healthy advice for women in the tone of an older sister or experienced girlfriend. Don’t diet before the ceremony, she advises; it will just drain your energy. And don’t hold off on sex before the wedding; it’s a good stress outlet. However, some questionable advice also rears its head, e.g., put the honeymoon on a credit card if you don’t have the cash because “some things in life are worth the interest.” Infinitely more useful than Jenny Lee’s recent I Do. I Did. Now What?; libraries should also consider Susan K. Perry’s Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way.

This review appeared in Library Journal. 128.12 (July 2003): p108; the galley was shredded and recycled on April 2, 2012.

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Love Prescription: Ending the War Between Black Men and Women

April 1, 2012

Gardere, Jeffrey. Love Prescription: Ending the War Between Black Men and Women. Dafina: Kensington. 2002. c.304p. ISBN 0-7582-0251-2. $24. SELF-HELP

Psychologist Gardere (Smart Parenting for African Americans) literally compares the struggle for stability in African American male-female relationships to war. Using a handful of real-life couples as examples, Gardere conceives and champions posttraumatic slavery disorder (PTSD) as the root of this war. PTSD manifests itself as negative mental and behavioral patterns, “shame, degradation, and self-hate” which doom blacks “to act out our buried anger and pain through repetitive negative and dysfunctional relationships, especially with each other.” Such passionate cultural criticism, however, obscures individuals and their problems; Gardere views black men and women as pawns of the larger culture and does not delve into interpersonal issues as Cornish does. Though noble and keen (especially when debunking stereotypes, e.g., “all black men are dogs”), Gardere falls to provide real guidance; for larger libraries and where demand warrants. Readers would do well to rediscover Harville Hendrix’s remarkable Getting the Love You Want, which does not distinguish among races. Also consider Deborah Mathis’s articulate Yet a Stranger on contemporary race relations and Michael Datcher’s Raising Fences, a very personal memoir of rejecting stereotypes.

This book was reviewed in Library Journal 128.1 (Jan. 2003): p136; the galley was shredded and recycled on April 1, 2012.