A wisecracking and pretty damned smart self-help book for grown-up girls with boy trouble. Gillooly, a magazine writer who has perfected the literary persona and voice of the hip, funny girlfriend, shows herself here also to be an astute if unpedigreed (we presume) psychologist. Through the use of modern-day archetypes--emergency room physician Paula, who picks all the wrong men; ""sophisticated and urbane"" Annie, who picks all the wrong gay men; overweight Lila; two-timing Lydia; once-burned control freaks Eva and Susannah--Gillooly skillfully shows how postfeminist women just can't quite get it together in their love lives . . . and deep down, may not want to. Actually, deeper down, they do want to; it's just that various self-sabotaging behaviors and beliefs stand in the way of the Know Thyself imperative that would make real relationships possible--or such is the author's likeable thesis. Unfortunately, Venus in Spurs gives the impression of a complex and human-size foot jammed into a streamlined glass slipper meant to confer bestseller status on its wearer: Casting the entire book as an exploration of ""the secret female fear of commitment"" has more to do with the marketplace than with Gillooly's truly wise and helpful offering. (Another problem is that unless you are white, under 35, well educated, and at least a paraprofessional, you may not feel this book is pitched at you.) Who could object, however, to lines like: ""Those of us more broad of beam have to suspend our disbelief a mite to sympathize with the hardship of growing up wafer thin and willowy""? A little awkward in its quick changes between humor and psychology, this book encourages women to ""be themselves"" in a way that actually makes sense of the phrase.