MAN ENOUGH by Frank Pittman


Fathers, Sons, and the Search for Masculinity
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 Atlanta psychiatrist Pittman (Private Lies, 1989) returns with an engaging, if not always convincing, assessment of the causes and cures of masculine inadequacy in America today. Citing a diminished patriarchy and patrimony as reasons for the difficulties modern men have in making the transition from sons to fathers, Pittman isolates three primary character types-- ``philanderers,'' ``contenders,'' and ``controllers''--as reflecting arrested or socially damaging development. Histories of the author's gym-buddies and cases from his family-therapy practice, specifics of a difficult relationship with his own father and of turbulent times with his son, and a dazzling array of references to popular cinema from Life with Father to Dances with Wolves help to illustrate these types, with a similar variety of examples used to examine the conditions necessary for becoming and being a ``man.'' When absent, overbearing fathers create men out of balance, Pittman says, equilibrium is attained only by understanding bonding and friendship, and, if necessary, by coming to terms with and forgiving one's parents. Men can then perceive women as equals and can ``join the team'' by working with others rather than by always striving to prove their masculinity. Long on personal anecdote but short on substantive analysis, and gushing with feel-good fixes from a seemingly bottomless reservoir; still, a witty, well-meaning consideration of a serious social problem.

Pub Date: May 31st, 1993
ISBN: 0-399-13819-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1993