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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
All of us know a woman who just can't seem to get love right. She could be successful in every other area of her life, but she keeps choosing the wrong guy, ignoring the good ones, and wondering if she'll be alone forever. Maybe she's your best friend, or sister, wading through love's dark waters without a life jacket.
You'd really like to slap some sense into her, but you're afraid she'd never speak to you again. But you can't just sit back any longer, watching a good woman waste her love on losing relationships. What do you do? Give her Women & Love by Mira Kirshenbaum. The successful psychotherapist doesn't know your friend/sister, and therefore isn't afraid to tell her to get a clue. You, however, might want to drop off the book and lay low for awhile.
Kirshenbaum takes decades of psychotherapy practice and a 32-year-and-counting marriage and hones them down to a no-nonsense guide to finding love — and keeping it. She comes across a bit like a drill sergeant with a big heart, acknowledging that "love sucks" sometimes, that it's hard work and hardly ever a walk in the park. But her fierce belief that we as women deserve the best in love shines through — she obviously cares that women everywhere learn to embrace their desire to have great love in their lives. "Love is your birthright," she writes in her introduction. "You're as made for love as Aretha Franklin is made for singing."
The first sections of Women & Love are geared toward the single gal. Kirshenbaum encourages women to get out in the world and have their share of "love adventures." Shedoesn'tnecessarily mean sleeping with the entire local baseball team, but adventures teach a woman the difference between a fling and a relationship. "Don't be afraid of having a number of romantic entanglements," she advises. "Remember, you can't throw your heart away. Your heart is the one thing you always keep no matter how many times you give it."
Packed with poignant advice, Women & Love centers around the belief that we deserve wonderful love. Kirshenbaum identifies eight make-or-break experiences that lead us to that love, such as "Taking a Chance on Love" and "Coming Through a Major Breakup Stronger and Smarter." These experiences are illustrated by dozens of real stories, some that you'll be able to identify some of yourself or a friend in, and some that seem completely foreign, like the woman who joins a convent after having her share of fun with men.
This book can be tricky if you're in a relationship. Perusing the lists of "loser" qualities, meant to help single women weed out those guys who would waste their time, might cause a woman to think "Oh no! I've chosen a couch potato to spend the rest of my life with!" For many women, once the honeymoon stage is over and the relationship has settled in, there is an experience of disillusionment. How were you supposed to know he'd be so boring, or that the sex would be so uninteresting? Kirshenbaum, who married her husband while she was still in her teens, acknowledges that "some things can change, some things can be fixed, and some things are hopeless." The most important thing, however, is that you feel you have a home for your love.
Make-or-Break Experience #7, "Making Sure Your Love Survives the Test of Time," might be a surprise to those readers who have found Kirshenbaum to be commensensical and charmingly blunt. Many women are miserable in their relationships because they're waiting around for their man to meet them halfway when it comes to nourishing the relationship (as you may know, you could wait around forever). Kirshenbaum knows it might get her into trouble, but she advocates that women take charge of the relationship, to stop waiting for their men to step up to the plate. "Creativity is the secret to keeping love alive through time," and we women are responsible for the creative spark.
So perhaps you know a single woman who could use a little sharp love advice from Mira Kirshenbaum, or you could use some of it yourself to liven up your marriage. Women & Love is for every woman who wants great love in her life; and these are the stories that inspire us. As Kirshenbaum says, it's time for us to become the heroines of our own love stories.
—Jessica Leigh Lebos