Lovelaw: Love, Sex and Marriage Around the World

Anthony Clare, Author BBC Ne Publications $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-563-20412-1
This companion book to a BBC series, to be aired here in late 1988, explores the experiences of falling in love, marriage, bearing children and divorce in several countries, with emphasis on Britain, the U.S., Japan, Kenya, Hungary, India, Italy and Egypt. The vastness of the subject inevitably leads to superficial, reductive cultural portraits. The work's authority is undermined further by British psychiatrist Clare's frequently chatty, unprofessional tone: ``children, unlike all the other goodies in the mail-order catalogues . . . have demands and needs of their own.'' Nevertheless, the work contains fascinating nuggets on different cultures of love and the ways they have been affected by changing times. In Japan the ancient stigma against disgracing one's family combines with modern technology to produce a TV show in which abandoned spouses vent their woes and appeal to viewers to help track down their errant mates. The author's discussion of familiar trends in the U.S. and Europe, such as the declining birthrate, is enlivened by eye-opening statistics. (A West German study found that only 10% of the 93 couples interviewed believed children were more important than consumer goods or careers.) The tour of disparate cultures' personal relationships reveals them to be plagued by similar basic problems. Clare effectively argues that private issues have a profound effect on society and need to be placed high on the public agenda so that family policies can be debated and developed. Photos. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988
Release date: 04/01/1988
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