cover image The Dance of Deception: Pretending and Truth-Telling in Women's Lives

The Dance of Deception: Pretending and Truth-Telling in Women's Lives

Harriet Goldhor Lerner / Author HarperCollins Publishers $22 (

Faked orgasms, family secrets and an exaggerated sense of privacy prevent women from embracing their own identities, evaluating their relationships and assuming fuller roles in society, avers Lerner ( The Dance of Anger ), a psychologist at the Menninger Clinic. She notes how secrets create insiders and outsiders within families and give secret-keepers inflated notions of power and/or guilt. Addressing the issue of whether to confess to infidelity, Lerner advocates telling so that weaknesses in the primary relationship can be faced. This insightful feminist treatise focuses most on deception in marriage and families; a wider examination of how exaggeration, lies and secrecy operate in other arenas of women's lives would have bolstered Lerner's contention that the deceptions described here are related to the lower rung women occupy in society. (Apr.)