rating: 3 of 5 stars
This would make a great book club book because there is so much room for discussion and disagreement. I swung back and forth between totally agreeing with what Boteach said and completely disagreeing, experiencing nearly every point in the "agreement spectrum" along the way. I found myself really wishing I could discuss what I was reading with someone else who had just read the same thing. (I would LOVE to get my boyfriend's take on the book.) There is just so much to talk about!
For example, when I read the chapter on using sex to mend bridges, I REALLY wanted to argue with Boteach: how can he possibly think that sex can be used to end a fight?! Make-up sex, absolutely, but not until the real issues are uncovered and the fight is over because I have yet to meet a woman who wants to be touched like that while she's still angry. It just fuels the Rage Monster. Boteach advocates using sex to halt all but the biggest, most serious arguments, but I think that if the underlying issues aren't addressed promptly, they will fester and cause more arguments. (I did agree with his point about a higher frequency of sex overall being likely to prevent many arguments from beginning in the first place, though.)
On the other hand, I also wanted to be able to discuss the places where I completely agreed with Boteach, such as the chapter on adultery and the pain it causes: When a man cheats on his wife, "she experiences a pain equivalent to death. Her former marriage goodwill oozes out slowly, and she finds every reason in the world to quarrel. Her friends see her and will hate you for snuffing out the fire in her soul" (p.223). He really nailed that description.
These are just two of many many examples, so I really do recommend this book for reading in book groups.
Something else I'd love to see? Rabbi Boteach and Alison Armstrong (of PAX programs) discussing these issues!
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