Love Prescription: Ending the War Between Black Men and Women

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.

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