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MelindaB

Reading Maketh a Full Man...

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Currently reading

The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Canto)
C.S. Lewis
Boys and Girls Learn Differently!: A Guide for Teachers and Parents
Michael Gurian, Terry Trueman, Patricia Henley
Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet
Christian Wiman
Deep River: The Life and Music of Robert Shaw
Keith C. Burris
Daring, Trusting Spirit
John De Gruchy
The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church
John Thavis
The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia
Orlando Figes

Mothers, Sons, and Lovers: How a Man's Relationship with His Mother Affects the Rest of His Life

Mothers, Sons, and Lovers - Michael Gurian I read this book after I read "What Could He Be Thinking?" by the same author. WCHBT I thought very worthwhile and would recommend highly. This one... well, not so great.The premise, that any man is hindered when he cannot grow up and be a man because his mother hangs on to him, or because he clings to her.... is fairly well understood. Who hasn't seen the 40 year old man who obeys his mother like a 5 year old, or the 25 year old man who wants his mother to stop treating him like a child and thus resorts to violence against women to demonstrate that he's "grown up"? These are chronic problems in our society that does not value men being men, or women letting go of their sons to become men. There is good information in this book, however the delivery of that information gets really bogged down to the point that I can hardly recommend it at all. The author creates a word picture to describe the process of a boy growing up and becoming a man -- dancing while looking into a mirror. The young boy looks into his mother's mirror, and dances as she has taught him to dance. As he grows, he should look into his own mirror and dance the dance that a man dances, but he gets stuck because his mother wants him to remain a boy. He is not allowed to grow up, his mother keeps him in her mirror and the young man now feels he cannot dance any other dance than the one she has taught him. If he dances differently, it will hurt her, and he doesn't want to do that. So his growth as a man is arrested and sometimes stops. He re-creates the dance for his girlfriend, and later his wife. If he has not separated from his mother, then he projects on his girlfriend or wife the dance his mother has made him dance. The solution? For other men to draw him away from the women, and teach him to be a man.It would be enough if the author introduced this word picture and stuck with it, but the problem is that he introduces about 3 or 4 other support stories, and then they start getting stacked up. He introduces "The Stone Boy", a story from American Indian lore; Perseus from Greek mythology; and Jacob and Esau from Hebrew Scriptures. Each story tells basically the same story of a young man in relationship to his mother. Perseus breaks away from his mother to win renown and a wife, Andromeda. Jacob does NOT break off with his mother, and kind of remains a mamma's boy until he struggles with the angel of the Lord. Unfortunately in using all of these stories about boys and their mothers, the author writes with all of them jumbled together. This results in a rather humorous problem, because as the boy is dancing in his mother's mirror, he must speak to the wise ones within, then steal the gray woman's eye, meet Andromeda, and confront his medusa all before his reunion with the goddess-mother! I'm sorry, I found myself laughing out loud because the sentences literally became almost nonsensical!!! The first half of the book discusses what it looks like be held back from full manhood, and the second half of the book is more of a self-help manual to lead you through a "vision quest" to become a man. The "wisdom" in this book comes heavily from American Indian lore, vision questing and sweat lodge type of work. While no doubt this has a place, I found it interesting that although the author uses Warrior language, he nowhere provides examples of past civilizations who developed real warriors. Sparta comes to mind. I wonder why he didn't use their myths and stories? Spartan mothers are the ones who sent their sons into battle, giving them their shields and saying "Come back with it, or on it". [with it = you were victorious; on it = you are a fallen hero, you fought and died and they brought you home to be buried, carried on the shield; coming home with it but having lost would make you a coward.] Talk about the type of mother this author should have investigated, they not only cut the apron strings but provide a bit of a boot out the door!This book suffers so much with new age / vision quest language that it becomes difficult to read. It was a great disappointment after having read "What Could He Be Thinking?" and finding it so worthwhile.