cover image The Forest House

The Forest House

Marion Zimmer Bradley. Viking Books, $21.95 (432pp) ISBN 978-0-670-84454-8

Ever since the Industrial Revolution, the authors assert, our society has required men not only to break away from their mothers, but also from those qualities and emotions associated with ``mother.'' Male offspring are expected to leave home, often before they are ready, and many mothers unconsciously distance their sons physically--by not hugging them, or by sending them away to school--or emotionally--by discouraging their ``feminine'' emotions or never becoming very close to them. Drawing on clinical case histories and images of men from popular and classic films and fiction, Silverstein, a therapist at the Ackerman Institute for Family Therapy in New York City, and freelance writer Rashbaum convincingly show how this forced gender split results in unhappy, unfulfilled men and perpetuates a patriarchal system that shortchanges men and women alike. Mothers of male offspring, stress the authors, can break through these emotional barriers, or avoid building them, by having the courage to discard cultural conventions of how to raise sons and instead become ``agents of their own values.'' (Apr.)