The Normal Bar: The Surprising Secrets of Happy Couples and What They Reveal About Creating a New Normal in Your Relationship

Chrisanna Northrup, Pepper Schwartz, and James Witte. Harmony, $25 (272p) ISBN 978-0-307-95163-2
A sprawling Internet-disseminated survey of more than 75,000 people in committed romantic relationships fuels this collection of fun statistics and Kinseyesque glimpses into the love lives of everyday folks, all with an aim toward providing practical tips for improving relationships through an examination of behaviors reported by happy couples. The authors use the survey as a starting point to create a "new normal," one that balances notions of normalcy unique to individual relationships and ideas more common to a broad swath of other relationships. The tips and exercises are sensible and straightforward, though overly reliant on reductive conceptions of happiness. Extensive quotes from participants complement the book's use as a primer for frank discussions about romance, sex, communication, work, money, and trust. While the breakdown of many of the statistics along gender lines implies a heterosexual audience, the study covers a wide range of traditional couples and nontrad relationships. For the pair stuck in a rut or simply looking to enliven their bond, this book offers encouraging, low-conflict ways to make the tiny changes necessary to maintain and nurture loving relationships. Agent: Helen Zimmerman, Zimmerman Literary. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/26/2012
Release date: 02/05/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 200 pages - 978-0-307-95574-6
Paperback - 290 pages - 978-0-307-95164-9
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