A sketchy portrait of married women with long-term lovers—and if that sounds like the subject of a TV talk-show, don't be surprised: Pop psychologist Friedman (On a Clear Day You Can See Yourself, 1990, etc.) hosts CNN's Sonya Live!. Friedman's research here consists of interviews with 113 women—between the ages of 23 and 76—who come from different social, ethnic, and economic backgrounds and from 16 states. Friedman attempts to show how these women conduct their double lives and why they cling to the security of marriage while going outside it for sex, romance, and companionship. With the aid of women's magazine-editor Forsyth, the author presents many individual stories, often in the form of first-person narratives. But contrary to Friedman's claims, the words of these women aren't ``heart-tugging, sometimes breathtaking'' but mostly rather matter- of-fact, and their stories have a certain sameness about them. One group's tales have a different twist—those whose lovers are other women—but even here the stories seem flat. Between the individual narratives are Friedman's thoughts about the causes for extramarital romance. Although the basis for her findings seems frail, Friedman concludes that women who look for fulfillment outside marriage are often those who marry very young, before knowing who they are and what they want. Her advice: Know thyself. Sympathetic, but superficial.
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