Review by Booklist Review
Beginning with All about Love (2000), hooks, a courageous, incisive writer whose compassion is backed by vigorous intellectualism, embarked on a provocative, invaluable dissection of the myriad obstacles to love in a society shackled by racism, the subject of Salvation: Black People and Love [BKL F 15 01], and patriarchal assumptions, the focus of this blazing inquiry. Working from the premise that women of all backgrounds are still made to feel that their worth, or lovableness, is gauged not by inner qualities but by their appearance and how they serve others, especially men, hooks traces the dire effects of society's ongoing devaluation of women as she parses the dynamics of marriage, contrasts the experiences of different generations of women, analyzes women's collusion with patriarchal culture, and assesses feminism's achievements and failures. Digging deeply into the snarl of sexist habits of thought and being, hooks concludes that women can have true love and autonomy in their lives only if, starting with mothers and daughters, they genuinely support each other in confronting misogyny in all its insidious forms. Donna Seaman
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
While feminism may have changed boardrooms, it didn't make much headway in bedrooms, argues philosopher/writer hooks. Women have made progress in regard to social empowerment, but the quest for emotional density for love has remained elusive. Why are men still so emotionally unsatisfying? Because, hooks argues, "patriarchal thinking has socialized males to believe that their manhood is affirmed when they are emotionally withholding." Patriarchy valorizes power and assigns it to men, and devalues nurturing and labels it feminine. Thus, young postfeminist women find themselves with "nothing to show" from their newly won equality but a double shift of work: first the paid job, then the physical and emotional homework of their relationship with their man. Still, as feminists of hooks's generation reach midlife, they may find it easier to rethink these terms of engagement, to risk changing things. The first step, she says, is self-love accepting one's body and soul just the way it is. Without such acceptance, women cannot escape the domination-submission dynamic. Even then, in this patriarchal universe finding love with another person may require some creativity. Hooks explores romantic friendships, lesbian loves and "circles of love" (which allow for committed bonds that extend beyond one partnership). A life with no coupling, but "a more authentic relationship between self and world," may also be satisfying. Twenty-something women who've embraced the highly problematic "bitch persona" Elizabeth Wurtzel has written of may sneer at hooks's affirming style, but older women, particularly those raising girls themselves, will find much to ponder here. (Feb. 1) Forecast: This should satisfy those looking for an alternative Valentine's Day gift for the leftist/feminist woman in their life. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
Known best for her battles against racism and sexism, writer/academician bell hooks delves into the proper role of love in the lives of women. Communion completes the trilogy that began with All About Love: New Visions and Salvation: Black People and Love wherein hooks advocated a love that embraced all ages and races and discussed barriers to that kind of love. In her latest work, hooks overturns the concept that a woman must be good to be loved and that her worth needs to be determined by another. In a patriarchal society, a woman's loving someone has always meant losing herself in order to be accepted or desired. This does not have to be the case. One can find freedom and the possibility of true communion with other women or men by first doing love "work" cultivating care, knowledge, respect, and responsibility in relation to oneself. hooks has gathered the wisdom of women who have come to know love in midlife and put together a powerful guidebook to life, which contains insight into the essence of love, societal influences that preclude one's finding it, and practical means for opening oneself to the love found in relationships. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/01.] Deborah Bigelow, Leonia P.L., NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.