TRUE LOVE WAITS: Essays and Criticism by Wendy Kaminer

TRUE LOVE WAITS: Essays and Criticism

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An acerbic, witty, and common-sensical collection of essays on feminism, crime, and pop psychology. Because she has never been tentative about disagreeing with other feminists, whether in the Atlantic or the Village Voice, Kaminer (It's All the Rage, 1995) sometimes endears herself to those least likely to share her concerns. This collection opens with an amusingly confused conversation between Kaminer and an editor at the National Review in which Kaminer tries to explain that she isn't a suitable writer for his publication: Despite her writing on individual responsibility, she is a liberal. She tells him that for what he proposes to pay her ($225) she could write for the Nation, but she knows that isn't ""quite true. The Nation hasn't called. They probably think I'm too conservative."" Indeed, reading these pieces, one is struck by how oddly fresh traditional liberalism sounds--indicative of how rare it is in today's political context. Kaminer is smart and judicious. In her discussions of gun control, self-help, violence against women, the death penalty, and religious freedom she consistently tries hard to understand and do justice to those with whom she disagrees. Even ideas she finds ridiculous or vacant--communitarians' notion that feminism's emphasis on rights is selfish, Michael Lerner's ""politics of meaning""--are given a reasoned hearing. Kaminer can be predictable; the answer to most political problems is, in the end, that people should have more rights and take more responsibility. Sometimes she oversimplifies and perpetuates unfortunate myths, stating, for instance, that a belief in the possibility of benign heterosexual relationships is what distinguishes liberal from radical feminists. Actually, many radical feminists are happily heterosexual; the disagreement is about the existing system's potential to bring about social change. Despite such rhetorical excesses, Kaminer adds balance, intellectual integrity, and pragmatism to some debates that badly need it.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Addison-Wesley