BAD GUYS by Brook Hersey


Women's Tales From the Relationship Front
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 Tedious coverage from the front lines of dating by freelance magazine writer Hersey. The threadbare scoop is that bad guys are a stealthy enemy who assault even vigilant smart women. The oversimplification of this book's title is emblematic of its content, which divides bad guys- -``bad in the sense that the women involved with them...suffered pain''--into three arbitrary categories: Aggressive Men, Wounded Men, and Hot/Cold Men. Under subheadings in these sections are the stories, told in the first person, of tormented ex-wives and ex- lovers. The axes the women grind are legitimate: These guys really are bad. Featured among the Aggressors are Possessive Men, the beefy rough-'em-up type; Hustlers, who are often ex-cons; Cheaters, married and two-timing; and Cruel Men, some of whom seem certifiably psychotic. The Wounded Men have deeply troubled pasts and include sexual deviants, drug users, impotent men, and adulterers. The Hot/Cold Men category is a murky catchall: They've bungled the relationships, and while it's unclear exactly how, we are assured that they're to blame. The involvements depicted here are extreme and sordid, because all the men must be bad and all the women nice for the book's premise--that women are attracted to, but should avoid, bad guys--to work. This strategy backfires; since the women are portrayed as never having erred (except by remaining faithful), they appear naãve, victimized, and ultimately as dysfunctional as their loser objects of affection. Hersey tries to keep things light, but the repetitive tales lack humor or irony, and she frequently lapses into pseudoscience: ``Relationship immaturity is actually a syndrome with a set of symptoms.'' A bloated magazine article heavy on hearsay, light on insight.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1994
ISBN: 0-9638870-0-9
Page count: 272pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1994