cover image If Men Could Talk: Here's What They'd Say

If Men Could Talk: Here's What They'd Say

Alon Gratch. Little Brown and Company, $23.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-316-17861-7

Women drawn to this book by its promise to unlock men's secrets will find that following Gratch's premise requires more effort and sophistication than following the work of John Gray. Though this book holds insights into the male psyche and into the therapeutic process itself, readers looking for a quick fix or easy characterizations will be disappointed. Despite the clever title, Gratch serves up fairly serious theory flavored with dollops of Russian literature and only brief suggestions on dealing with men's behavior. Rather than suggest manipulative tactics, he urges women to hone their emotional understanding, in one case advising women to be like a ""detective"" in probing for emotions. Observing that ""the cornerstone of man's gender identity is his feminine, not masculine, desires,"" this Westchester, N.Y., clinical psychologist surveys men's motivations using popular catchphrases: ""boys don't cry"" (shame); ""I don't know what I feel"" (emotional absence); ""tired of being on top"" (insecurity); ""see me, touch me"" (self-involvement); ""I'll show you who's boss"" (aggression); ""I'm such a loser"" (self-destruction); ""I want sex now"" (sexual acting out). In alternately familiar and intriguing composite patient profiles, Gratch illustrates each behavior, documenting his reactions to being challenged and engaged by--and at times almost jousting with--patients. (Feb. 20) Forecast: While Gratch aims for a dual readership, his catchy title and topic are designed to attract media attention and a stampede of women buyers. However, he may have pitched this one too high for a mass audience.