The golden condom And other essays on love lost and found

Jeanne Safer

Book - 2016

"Dr. Jeanne Safer has dedicated much of her decades' long career in psychotherapy to exploring taboo subjects that we all think about in private but seldom discuss in public. From conflicted sibling relationships to the choice not to have children, Safer's work has always been unflinching in its aim to dive deep into topics that make most of us blush, but which are present in all of our lives. In The Golden Condom, Safer turns her sharp and fearless eye to a subject perhaps more u...niversal than any other-love in all its permutations. In The Golden Condom Safer interweaves her own experiences with those of a variety of memorable people, including her patients, telling a series of tales that investigate relationships--both healthy and toxic--that most of us don't escape life without experiencing at least once, including traumatic friendships, love after loss, unrequited or obsessional love and more. Never prescriptive and always entertaining, these stories will demolish any suspicion you might have that you're alone in navigating a turbulent romantic life, and will inspire you with the range of possibilities that exist to find love, however unconventional, and at any age"--

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Subjects
Published
New York : Picador [2016]
Language
English
Physical Description
x, 272 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781250055750
125005575X
Main Author
Jeanne Safer (author)
  • Part I: Hopeless love
  • Leaving unloving lovers and unfriendly friends
  • Of human bondage: obsessive love
  • Vengeance is mine: the dark side of rejected love
  • Betrayal
  • Unrequited love: my golden one
  • Part II: Difficult love
  • The man who could not love
  • The tantalizing mentor and the passionate protégé
  • Traumatic friendship
  • Part III: Fulfilled love
  • Late first marriage: the triumph of hope over resignation
  • Love is stronger than the grave
  • Love him, hate his politics: how a liberal and a conservative stay married
  • Recovering the good from a love gone bad.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Drawing on her own experiences as well as those of patients and friends, Safer meditates on love's most volatile and traumatic forms: unrequited love, difficult love, betrayal, bad friendships, the intimate relationships between mentors and protégés. As a therapist, she takes a somewhat clinical approach, introducing psychology terms, when appropriate (narcissistic injury, ego strength, abreaction), which she expands upon in well-placed footnotes, explaining a term's origins or offering suggestions for further reading. Beyond the clinical, though, the text also has a philosophical and literary aspect, weaving in quotes from Samuel Johnson and Samuel Beckett, for example, as well as offering personal reflections drawn from a journal written by the author's hopelessly-, destructively-in-love, 19-year-old self. The timelessness of the topic as well as its confessional, educational content will give the book wide appeal—anyone will be able to find themselves reflected in one story or another, whether they are in love, or longing, or looking to understand this mystifying, powerful, innately human experience. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Psychotherapist Safer's (The Normal One) collection of essays is a breakdown of what it truly means to love and not be loved in return. Gathering stories from patients, friends, colleagues, and her own love life, Safer provides psychotherapeutic insight into a near and dear topic. The titular "golden condom" refers not only to a specific story of a spray-painted condom but also the idea of sexual conquest or perhaps those persons who consider themselves too worthy. Not all the accounts are sexually focused, as the doctor relates a friend's betrayal in later life to that of the disloyalty of her golden condom from years past. At the end of the day, the hurt comes from the same place. Not all of the tales are gloomy, however, and Safer provides tips and useful ideas for dealing with both the heartache and joy that comes with any form of love. She also covers some history of psychotherapy; critics of Sigmund Freud may want to avoid this one. VERDICT At times lengthy and repetitive, with footnotes that at points seem avoidable, this text can get a bit bogged down and becomes less accessible. However, the narratives and their protagonists offer the reader a mirror, friend, and confidant for personal experiences. Anyone interested in psychotherapy or simple matters of love will enjoy this title.—Kaitlin Connors, Virginia Beach P.L. [Page 109]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Psychotherapist Safer (Cain's Legacy: Liberating Siblings from a Lifetime of Rage, Shame, Secrecy, and Regret) offers valuable advice for dealing with the pitfalls of love in this thought-provoking and deeply useful self-help title. This is far from the typical "how to find a lover" type of book; Safer probes topics such as traumatic friendships and frenemies, unrequited love, and mentor/mentee breakdowns before examining the fulfillment that true and enduring love can bring. The book is divided into three sections—Hopeless Love, Difficult Love, and Fulfilled Love—that are punctuated with stories from both Safer's personal life (the book's title refers to an actual condom the author gilded and sent to a former lover) and the lives of her patients. "There are many ways to become mistress (or master) of one's fate after a betrayal, but they all have things in common: conscious effort and a fighting spirit," the author muses before giving advice on coping skills. Safer also traces behavior back to childhood traumas to help dig out and eradicate harmful patterns instilled (intentionally or not) by damaged parents. For anyone dealing with the intense pain caused by unrequited love, false friendships, or romantic obsessions, this book offers comfort and solid coping strategies. Agent: Michelle Tessler, Tessler Literary Agency. (Apr.) [Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Recounting stories and observations from her years of private practice on the topic of love, a psychotherapist, who dedicated much of her decades' long career to exploring taboo subjects, shows readers that they are not alone in navigating a turbulent romantic life and will inspire them with the range of possibilities that exist to find love, however unconventional.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A psychotherapist shares her personal experiences and those of her patients that explore siginificant relationships, both good and bad, from traumatic friendships and obsessional love to mentor-protâegâe.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"Dr. Jeanne Safer has dedicated much of her decades' long career in psychotherapy to exploring taboo subjects that we all think about in private but seldom discuss in public. From conflicted sibling relationships to the choice not to have children, Safer's work has always been unflinching in its aim to dive deep into topics that make most of us blush, but which are present in all of our lives. In The Golden Condom, Safer turns her sharp and fearless eye to a subject perhaps more universal than any other-love in all its permutations. In The Golden Condom Safer interweaves her own experiences with those of a variety of memorable people, including her patients, telling a series of tales that investigate relationships--both healthy and toxic--that most of us don't escape life without experiencing at least once, including traumatic friendships, love after loss, unrequited or obsessional love and more. Never prescriptive and always entertaining, these stories will demolish any suspicion you might have that you're alone in navigating a turbulent romantic life, and will inspire you with the range of possibilities that exist to find love, however unconventional, and at any age"--

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A psychotherapist recounts fascinating stories and observations from her years of private practice on the topic of life's greatest mystery: love.Dr. Jeanne Safer has dedicated much of her decades' long career in psychotherapy to exploring taboo subjects that we all think about in private but seldom discuss in public. From conflicted sibling relationships to the choice not to have children, Safer's work has always been unflinching in its aim to dive deep into topics that make most of us blush, but which are present in all of our lives. In The Golden Condom, Safer turns her sharp and fearless eye to a subject perhaps more universal than any other: love in all its permutations. In The Golden Condom Safer interweaves her own experiences with those of a variety of memorable people, including her patients, telling a series of tales that investigate relationships--both healthy and toxic--that most of us don't escape life without experiencing at least once, including traumatic friendships, love after loss, unrequited or obsessional love and more. Never prescriptive and always entertaining, these stories will demolish any suspicion you might have that you're alone in navigating a turbulent romantic life, and will inspire you with the range of possibilities that exist to find love, however unconventional, and at any age.