Kirkus Reviews QR Code
MY GREATEST TEACHER-LOVE by Arlene K. Carter

MY GREATEST TEACHER-LOVE

Love Helps Us To Be Courageous When We Feel Like Giving In

By Arlene K. Carter

Pub Date: Nov. 6th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1452560465
Publisher: BalboaPress

Debut author Carter recalls the ups and downs of a promising romantic relationship that ended badly and the lessons she learned from the experience.

At age 35, Carter was ready for a serious relationship. After striking up a friendship with a man she worked with, she began dating him and was convinced she’d found the person she was supposed to be with forever. As the relationship wore on, however, it became clear that they wanted different things; after two years, he expressed no interest in getting married and was often emotionally distant. He and Carter tried couples counseling and were told that they would be better off apart. After taking a class on creative and personal growth, Carter finally found the strength to break up with him and move on with her life. The author’s honesty in revealing her own failings, along with her boyfriend’s, is admirable. But if the process of writing this memoir seems to have been cathartic, it contains very little advice that might be useful to the general reader. The last chapter, “The Lessons,” offers the author’s reflections on what she lost and gained in the relationship, but, like most of the chapters, it’s fewer than three pages long. Without more context, it’s hard to see why this relationship was so important to her. On the last page she notes, “As a child growing up in a physically and emotionally abusive house, the desire for being loved became my driving force.” This is the memoir’s first mention of abuse, and it may make readers wish she had included more information about her past. The memoir is formatted like a picture book, with colorful photographs of flowers throughout, but although the pictures are beautiful, they don’t add much to Carter’s story which, at just 23 pages long, might have been more effective as an essay.

A short memoir about a relationship, likely more helpful for the author than for readers.