Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What's He REALLY Thinking? By Paula Rinehart

This book addresses the impact of significant men on a woman's life and her influence on them. Seven broad categories of men are described, with their motivations, strengths and drawbacks. The rest of the book's two sections, Understanding the Man You Love, and Loving the Man You Understand, explain what motivates and hurts men, how they change, and what they need.
I enjoyed this book, as it was one of the first of its kind I have read. It is more primer than textbook, although it is written by a seasoned counselor. In clear terms and ways which are easy to grasp, Paula Rinehart describes what and how men think, feel, and relate. At the least, the book serves as a good reminder of how men and women differ in their cognitive and emotional makeup. Appendices and a guide in the back of the book encourage women to discern and think about their relationships with men.

The book was easy to read, engaging and entertaining. Material is presented well and is not belabored.

The writer's style was a challenge for me, at times, sometimes waffling between timeless eloquence and colloquial talk as if between girlfriends. An example is at the top of page 95: “If our focus becomes shoring up a man's weaknesses, we may grow blind to what he does so well. When we lose sight of his strengths, our voices sound more like black crows carping in his ear. Forget the cheerleader biz.” Repeatedly, the author uses such jarring metaphors one after, and against, another. On page 100, she says, “All kinds of things can happen when your need taps into his fear of his own inadequacy. But that's no good reason to run for cover or bury your heart. I'm not suggesting you wig out on him, but if you hang in there—and hanging in there is a form of respect—you will both slowly get somewhere.” (Four figures of speech in two sentences are too many for me.) Other times, the author is eminently quotable, as in this case on page 103 when she talks about a woman letting silence be its own message: “So, sometimes, respect means letting the empty place scream its own scream.”

Overall, I would recommend this book, as long as the reader is not looking for a great deal of depth or analysis about the way men are designed.

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