WRESTLING WITH LOVE by Samuel Osherson


How Men Struggle with Intimacy with Women, Children, Parents, and Each Other
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 In the broadening wake of Iron John and Fire in the Belly comes an equally strong entry that focuses on conflicts common to men--between the need to connect and reluctance to do so, for example--and comes up with highly viable strategies and trustworthy solutions. Aimed at the mainstream population, this is an articulate, organized discussion that examines the pressure points in life and a complex network of attitudes and experiences that too often interferes with their resolution. After noting the difficulties that men have expressing anger, sorrow, love, and, especially, dependency, Harvard Health Services psychologist Osherson (Finding Our Fathers, 1986) looks closely at particular adult connections--with women, children, older parents- -and offers important insights deriving from everyday situations. ``It's not that men don't feel,'' he observes. ``It's that men often manage feelings in ways that wives don't understand.'' He goes on to record how grief, shame, and anger can obscure love; how women may evoke need and shame at the same time; and how struggles at work may be rooted in family dynamics. Pointing out the distancing effects of competitiveness or distrust, stressing affirmation and reconciliation, acknowledging the tenacity of resistance to change, Osherson recognizes the sources of many male attitudes (of ``manliness'' in particular), the competing voices men hear, and the need to name one's loneliness (men, he says, use a coded language when discussing feelings) and to have it heard. Throughout, he uses workshop exercises to demonstrate the process of self-discovery, and, in revealing the impact of a father's love on a grown man, he teaches lessons to the fathers of young boys. Easier to read than to act on, more moderate in tone than Bly or Keen--a lucid and perceptive offering.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-449-90550-0
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1992