Books by Sonya Friedman

Released: Feb. 9, 1994

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. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 28, 1990

Psychologist and TV talk-show host Friedman (A Hero is More than Just a Sandwich, 1986; Smart Cookies Don't Crumble, 1985, etc.) here dispenses with strained culinary puns to offer friendly and generally sensible advice to women on learning to respect themselves and take responsibility for their lives. Friedman identifies "The Feminine Mistake"—looking to others for validation and fulfillment, rather than within oneself—as a major pitfall for women. She then gives guidance in specific areas, ranging from the expectedly intimate (men, work, shedding the baggage of one's childhood, conquering fears and negativity) to, laudably, the global, recommending that a full life include making a contribution to society and to the future of the planet. The one striking omission in her survey of the range of women's concerns is any specific discussion of motherhood as an area in which many women have difficulty preserving a sense of the importance of their own needs and goals. Nothing especially new or striking here, but the book's comprehensiveness, hopeful approach, and accessible style make it a worthwhile primer in self-exploration for a mass female readership. Read full book review >