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Communion: The Female Search for Love

(Love Trilogy)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,693 ratings  ·  148 reviews
Renowned visionary and theorist bell hooks began her exploration of the meaning of love in American culture with the critically acclaimed All About Love: New Visions. She continued her national dialogue with the bestselling Salvation: Black People and Love. Now hooks culminates her triumphant trilogy of love with Communion: The Female Search for Love.

Intimate, revealing, p
Paperback, 272 pages
Published December 24th 2002 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 2002)
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4.20  · 
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 ·  1,693 ratings  ·  148 reviews

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Polly Trout
Apr 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I love bell hooks in general, but happened to read this book at exactly the right time in my life so that it was a profound and transformative experience; it is always gratifying to see my own philosophy laid out in print with articulate grace, and "Communion" was deeply affirming in that way. hooks agrees with Fromm that love is an art form, "an action informed by care, respect, knowledge, and responsibility." hooks says that it is not possible to have love and domination at ...more
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
bell hooks remains, to me, an irreplaceable voice in the discourse of feminism and love.
Through hooks, I have gained more insight into the areas of conflict present in my understanding of love and my relationship towards love. Her writing has introduced me to the idea of non-sexual romantic relationships and it just all makes sense, like, all of it.
I appreciate her insistence that men and women are not from different planets and the commitment she shows towards the disparaging holds of "gender
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club, on-love
I would have abandoned Communion at the first chapter if it weren't for a book club I wanted to attend. I'm glad I finished it even though I didn't really enjoy it. A lot of generalizing statements in here. I'm not interested in her use of "most women" and "we." bell hooks will be like, "MOST WOMEN had fathers who left them which is why WE seek out men who are emotionally unavailable." This happens throughout the book. Here's another one: "Lesbians, like all women, come from families where dysfu ...more
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book has some really great stuff in it, and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending it to people. But it still has its flaws. A group of my friends decided to read it and then get together and talk about it, and in going back through and pulling out quotes for discussion from pages I’ve marked, I can get a good sense of what I did and didn’t like about it.

The subtitle of the book is “The Female Search for Love.” And yet, despite “love” being integral to this whole book and all her ideas, bell h
bell hooks is a feminist theorist and writer and this is part of a group of books she wrote about love. This one examines love from a female perspective, delving deeply into feminist theory, where feminism both succeeded and failed, and the utter importance of learning how to love for everyone (not just women). She discusses the importance of loving yourself before you can love anyone else, and the fact that love cannot exist in patriarchal relationships. She discusses the false idea that women ...more
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
i read this at amandas wearing the bee costume and i also want to give this to my mom. she unpacks all the conflated societal messages while writing directly and encouragingly. we can choose love amidst a culture of lovelessness, which is to say a culture of domination, control, and exploitation of power. we can create positive self esteem as the basis for self love and living fully. love takes work and energy, as does constructing a space for mutuality.
she references and critiques contemporary
Jun 22, 2011 rated it liked it
i wish i could give this book to a younger version of myself because it states so plainly a lot of things i took too long to figure out for myself. that is to say, i really like and appreciate what she's saying here, but i think i read it about 5 years too late? even so, there is much here to chew on. hooks makes the important, oft understated, point that patriarchy keeps men AND women from really knowing and loving themselves. self-love as a foundation for honest, non-dominating relationships i ...more
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
ok, I liked it, but I have to say, it was very second-wavey, and honestly? the works hooks quotes are more insightful and incisive than the actual text of this book. but. I met this book at a very good time in my life.
Michelle Pei
Apr 24, 2017 rated it liked it
I really like bell hooks, and I really tried to like this book. But I can't stand the sweeping generalizations littered throughout this book, and I found it difficult to relate to her points. I still very much enjoy her style, but the content eludes me.
Christine Bissonnette
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could give this book more than 5 stars. It's definitely one of the most personally influential and important books I've read all year.
Sep 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
bell hooks always has the elixer when my soul needs healing....i have read many of her books during times when i have felt shattered and scattered... and her words have been the glue that has helped get me back together... last night i delved back into the chapter "gaining power, losing love" at 2 am... i remember how much i loved it when i first read it... and its healing power holds firm today... hooks makes no excuses... she doesn't just accept things the way they are. she knows that without ...more
Jun 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Choosing love, we affirm our agency, our commitment to personal growth, and our emotional openness.

Saying no to any devaluation and debasement of the female body is a loving practice.

"Everything is bearable when there is love. My wish is that you try to give more people more love. The only thing that lives forever is love." - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Love is the foundation on which we build the house of our dreams. It's a house with many rooms. Relationships are part of the house, but they are not
Sep 02, 2014 rated it liked it
An engrossing read, although its resonance suffered since I was clearly not the target audience (since I am not a middle-aged woman at the turn of the millennium). Pros: a wonderful, nuanced discussion on how the patriarchy really screws with both women and men when it comes to love and relationships; a sadly accurate analysis of girl-on-girl hate; an interesting history of Hooks and her experiences in the feminist movement. Cons: Lots of generalizations, lots of assumptions, and confusing look ...more
Aug 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
If you like feminist theory/thinking, this is definitely a great read, and written by one of the best. bell hooks critiques the concept of ‘love’ from a feminist perspective as well as her own personal stories. Even though women’s liberation has made it possible for women to enjoy power, jobs and money, so many women are stuck in relationships that are either love-less or un-loving, and often consciously or sub-consciously accept subordination when it comes to loving men. Why? She urges men and ...more
Feb 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Communion threw some heavy truths at me; some things that seemed obvious on the page but when juxtaposed against my life, sort of shocked me out of my body. The last few chapters were extremely useful, as they explored different ways to be in relationship with other people. The chapter on Romantic Friendships talks about a kind of partnership where two women build a life together that isn't sexual, and yet they share a home and plan their lives together. This was a beautiful way for me to descri ...more
May 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read this book. Now.

I am not sure where to begin or how to add insights that has not already been shared. I will say that although the subtitle says "Female" this book is for everyone. What I found most valuable is that bell hooks explores our personal love from childhood on. Even asking us revisit how we were or were not taught how to love as children and how to heal any wounds that may exist. It is the biggest tragedy in our world today that we are not taught how to love. Not the fairy tale, s
Rianna Jade
Jun 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-finest
Instead of reading books that insist men are from mars and women are from venus, this should be required reading for all. bell hooks skillfully powers through the myths and unequal paradims in heterosexual relationships. This book above all will teach you that your greatest power is learning that you can save yourself, love yourself and be everything for you. bell also sheds light on romantic friendships, lesbian love and being a witness to love. Communion, where we share and experience with eac ...more
Oct 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
A woman conducts a library tour for her lover from far away. All blue hair and fuzz they are together. bell hooks I read. I read some bell hooks I gush. Tell me one thing you got out of it. You don't fall in love, you choose it. I don't fall in love. I don't need to fall in love. I can choose to fall in love. That's what he has been sayin'! I am love. I am a lovebian.

This has a lot for middle age women. I decided not to quit Christmas because I want to give this book as a present to my mom. Is i
Jocelyn Weidman
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This book blew my mind. Well, more precisely put, this timely book put into words many of my thoughts and feelings from the past few years I've spent dating various men. I want every woman to read this book.

This books definitely has it's downfalls. Especially in regards to a stereotypical approach to the LGTBQ community. However, bell hooks is explicit and profound as she speaks about what it's like to navigate relationships (both romantic and non-romantic) as a strong, self-actualized woman in
Andrea Dowd
May 12, 2009 rated it did not like it
Total self-help, self-awareness dribble for the middle-aged and near-post-Second-Wave feminism. I was very disappointed in bell hooks and the whole "the journey to love is self-love", it's been done, give me something new to use. Oh, that and the book has more to do with finding and realizing love in your 40s and beyond, not really something of use for those of us under 40.

Just don't read this.
Sarah Jane
Aug 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all the feminist ladies
Bell Hooks is simply amazing, and this book is what made me fall in love with her work. There is a serious lack of books in the world about feminism, love, and relationships--but here is one, thats amazing! Every word is magic.
Jessi Luckett
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
very similar to all about love, not as good.
May 24, 2010 marked it as to-read
i read both of her memoirs a few years ago and keep thinking back to this book! re-read!
Oct 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is the third of bell hooks' love trilogy - All About Love, Salvation, and Communion. I recommend all three but Communion is a must-read for any enlightened woman.
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Cover to cover filled with growth, realisation and affirmation. Absolutely a must read.
Jeremy Clark
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a great book and I think reading it subsumes reading her earlier book, All About Love. It is much more practical. The book is set up as knowledge advice from bell hook's experiences, obviously informed by her academic work and activism. If you want a taste of the book, just read the last chapter in a bookstore and decide.

The one deficit is that she often states her opinion on contentious issues as a matter of fact, without much justification or acknowledgement of differing views. I'll g
Kendall Blake
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it
While I would definitely recommend this book, much of the thoughts in it were things I already know or believe. That being said, I always read this book with a pen, as there were so many thoughts to underline and highlight. A really interesting compilation of thoughts on the topic of love and how the patriarchal paradigm we live in has affected the beliefs we hold about love. Reading this has made me, being a feminist myself, feel discouraged of finding a feminist man, but also instilled a hope ...more
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bell Hook's writing is as conversational and accessible as ever but like always she takes a deep dive into feminist theory, this time focusing on socialisation concerning love in patriarchal society like a previous book, All About Love but this time focusing on how socialised beliefs and behaviours of men and women affects women's development, sense of self and how the concept of love as it is mangled by patriarchy can shape women's lives preventing self love, healthy relationships and self actu ...more
Jul 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting read.

This is a thoughtful work.

I liked that this book was so readable. You can pick it up and find a paragraph on any page that provokes thought.

I did read cover-to-cover and, even at a mere 24x pages, I did find that it went on a little too much and that exactly the same message could have been conveyed in a much smaller word count. I also found that the numerous references to the works of other authors left me a little directionless in places.

Overall worth a read.

In terms of the co
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In short: love isn't just heterosexual romantic love from men, despite what society tells us. It's female love, it's platonic love, it's self love, and we have to make time for it, particularly the latter. She also challenges the notion that women are better at love, and that we're hard wired to know how to flawlessly execute it. (She takes particular aim at "Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus.") This is an important realization because it erases our tendency for guilt when love doesn't com ...more
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bell hooks (born Gloria Jean Watkins) is an African-American author, feminist, and social activist. Her writing has focused on the interconnectivity of race, class, and gender and their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and domination. She has published over thirty books and numerous scholarly and mainstream articles, appeared in several documentary films and participated in ...more

Other books in the series

Love Trilogy (3 books)
  • All About Love: New Visions
  • Salvation: Black People and Love
“Love is a combination of care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect and trust.” 317 likes
“Think of all the women you know who will not allow themselves to be seen without makeup. I often wonder how they feel about themselves at night when they are climbing into bed with intimate partners. Are they overwhelmed with secret shame that someone sees them as they really are? Or do they sleep with rage that who they really are can be celebrated or cared for only in secret?” 178 likes
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