Once more into the breach as they say. I'm really bad at finishing book reviews, but this is one that's been simmering for over a year. I first read CTBHHM when my future sister-in-law mentioned that she was reading it. To be very honest, when I heard that I felt sick to my stomach. I hadn't read the book yet, but I'd heard enough to make me doubt whether this book could help anyone - particularly someone whose own experience with marriage (second-hand) hadn't been the best. So in the hopes of having a long chat over coffee I ordered myself a copy and read it. That chat never really happened. My sister-in-law, while being a lovely person, is a true introvert, and with living cross country I haven't had the time and opportunity to invest in our relationship. So if you, my quiet blog reader, wouldn't mind, I'd like to have that chat now. I warn you ahead of time that I'm not disposed to like this book and talk dispassionately about all the good things you can take away from it. I'm more concerned with the pitfalls and dangerous advice that permeate this book. That's not to say that there aren't good points in this book. There are - I just feel the bad far outweighs the good.
I have to say this book starts out with a huge howler. Debi Pearl had been meaning to catch the preacher for something like seven years - this is the fellow so high strung sexually that he wouldn't even shake hands with the little old ladies in his congregation*. Naturally, Debi drops a hint along the lines of "Someday I'd like to give you a little boy (p14)." Admittedly this after said pastor made the roaring indiscretion of holding her hand during a prayer meeting, so perhaps there were extenuating circumstances. Anyway, they get married. And, from this book's perspective, that's when the real fun started. Having admitted just a few pages later that she once threw rocks at her husband I wonder if perhaps that's not a key to understanding this book. If you're the kind of woman who's so very highly strung (think Kate from The Taming of the Shrew) that you make everyone around dance attendance and then fault them on their footwork you might very well need a book like this to shake you till your teeth start dancing in time to the tune you've been playing for everyone else. Most of us though, don't throw rocks at our husbands. (In fact I'm rather sure that too few of us are throwing pillows and that the lack of busted pillows needing to be replaced is a factor in our sluggish economy.) Anyway, all this to say that I will at the front concede that there are probably women of monumental tempers who need lecture quite this stern to get them down to normal levels. For the rest of us though, I find Mrs. Pearl's advice highly problematic, but we'll get into that when we move on to Part 1 of CTBHHM.
*You know there are some forms sexual discretion that are nearly as creepy as open leering. Refusing a simple handclasp with a woman old enough to be your grandmother because of heaven's knows what temptations is really high on that list.