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Pop-psychiatric trivia. Lecker, a psychiatrist, has set up a straw woman on whom he builds a book. She is The American Woman. Now there are white women and black women, urban women and rural women, Jewish, Catholic and Protestant women, poor women and rich women, old women and young women, neurotic women and well-balanced women, well-educated women and poorly educated women, professional women and blue-collar women, sexy women and frigid women. To take all these categories of women--his list is far longar--roll them into one ball and christen it The American Woman is neither good statistics nor good psychiatry. What set Lecker to writing this work, he says, is the fact that half of contemporary marriages in the U.S. end in divorce and the prediction is that before long it will be two out of three. He says that if women learned that they often choose husbands who resemble their fathers, or because of certain moral or emotional precepts built into them at young ages by their families, they would choose more suitable mates and thereby lower the divorce rate. The author overlooks the fact that precisely the same is true of men in the process of choosing a wife. Men tend to choose mates who resemble their mothers, If the divorce rate is to be brought down, men also will have to be educated, a point not made here. Lots of profiles of marriages that failed. The reader gets the first impression that the profiles are real (Lecker in his introduction to them calls them ""case histories""). But ten pages later he writes that the woman in his first ""case history"" is "". . .typical of a number of real women I have talked to. . ."" Each of these fictional women is a composite. The thinking is vague, the tone naive, the writing sloppy. Consider this: "". . .Getting married is harder than it used to be, I think, and I also think it's no surprise that it is. Perhaps it shouldn't [emphasis in original] be harder, but because certain factors are constantly shifting, a woman today has less chance than ever before of picking out the right man."" Nothing here that is not more competently presented in any standard psychology text, and in other better general-circulation books.

Pub Date: June 28th, 1985
Publisher: Arbor House