Men, Women and Relationships: Making Peace with the Opposite Sex
John Gray / Author Harper Paperbacks $14.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-
Men and women are alien species, writes relationship guru Gray in this 1993 forerunner to his bestselling Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus series, now in paperback. Women are emotional, subjective, relationship-oriented and like to talk about feelings, while men are rational, objective, work-oriented and like to withdraw into their""cave"" and watch TV. The mutual incomprehension of the sexes leads to friction and conflicted relationships in which women feel neglected and unloved and men feel nagged and smothered. Rather than denying or suppressing their differences, Gray argues, men and women must acknowledge their masculine and feminine essences and learn to understand, tolerate and value the characteristics of the opposite sex. Men must learn to listen sympathetically (""make reassuring responses like 'hmm,' 'uh-huh,' or 'tell me more,'"") while women must learn to give men space. Gray often pushes the essentialism too far (""Illness and disease are manifestations of the dark side of our female self"") and treads lightly around issues of sexism. But many readers will see elements of truth in these behavioral stereotypes, and Gray has a perfect pitch for the ways in which misunderstandings can escalate into shouting matches and deep-seated marital bitterness. His is a hopeful message that troubled relationships stem from a simple failure to communicate, but it skirts the possibility that there might be deeper sources of conflict between men and women.
Reviewed on: 11/01/2002