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Communion: The Female Search for Love

(Love Trilogy)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  2,319 ratings  ·  206 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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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
Ariel [She Wants the Diction]
I think hooks' writing suffers from a lot of the same pitfalls as her previous work, All About Love: New Visions:

- overgeneralization of women and women's desires
- a strongly heteronormative viewpoint
- repetition of ideas
- far too much quoting from self-help books

However, the strengths of her writing are present here as well:

- easy to read and understand
- flows from the page
- truly makes you feel something and want to act on it

There was a lot less I disagreed with in this book, and I could see
Melissa Stacy
Published in 2002, "Communion: The Female Search for Love," by bell hooks/Gloria Watkins, is an excellent nonfiction title by this prolific and deeply insightful author.

I breezed through this book in two days, and enjoyed it immensely. bell hooks is full of hard truths, but she presents her thoughts in such a way that her work is uplifting, compassionate, and hopeful. The voice of bell hooks rings with moral rectitude, but it is also a voice that is full of kindness, openness, and wholehearted f
chantel nouseforaname
Bell hooks shares that the original work of love is the cultivation of care, knowledge, respect, and responsibility in relation to the self.

I picked up this book because I’m on a journey of self-discovery and this seemed like the place to start for me in relation to love, self-love, and contentment.

I realized that every time I quoted this book during the reading of it, every friend would be like — yo, can I read that after you? All the conversations I’ve had with women and my female friends, s
Shanti Boyle
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Bell hooks engages in such clear, compelling discourse about how women love and learn to love. I felt validated and appropriately chastised, and I adored how she laced her own narrative through discussion of theory. My one edit is that her book exists in this binary, gendered world, and seems to exclude trans and nonbinary people. I appreciate how she may not be able to speak on that, but an acknowledgement of her limitations would have been prudent, I think.
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
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In line with my current fascination with the topics of companionship and love, I am finding a lot of understanding, warmth and good old fashioned lived wisdom in critical thinking based feminist texts.

To that end, Communion goes into remarkably intricate nuances and bell hooks combines popular culture, academic research and her personal experiences to talk about not just community and love, but ambition, mother-daughter relationships, aging, monogamy and the lure and normalcy of separating roma
Amanda Samuel
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
My first book by bell hooks, and won’t be my last. I appreciate writers that can put words to things that are hard to explain and I can see the way her insights have been so influential in feminist thought.
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars
Didn’t really teach me anything I didn’t know, but it was nice to see reinforced some ideas/thoughts that I already had in mind.
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
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. ...more
Forrest Kentwell
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book combines the self-help genre with anecdotal evidence to offer vague but powerful pronouncements about the importance of self-love as a foundation on which to build a house of love in community and partnerships, romantic and sexual. hooks' writing is insightful, humorous, and colloquial--really it feels like she is sitting having a cup of tea and chatting with you as you read, so i recommend making yourself a cup. In this way, the book is not a standard self-help guide to love and relat ...more
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
I felt like this book was more like a memoir/opinion-piece than the book I thought it would be. It dives into the topic from a very personal point of view, and while some of it did ring true, a lot of it was off-putting when structured like that. Much of what I read is rooted only in the author's experience with mostly "I" statements before stringing it together with some extremely broad, vague, and repetitive conclusions. It lost me along the way. ...more
Jihelah Greenwald
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is incredible. In every chapter bell hooks reveals another layer of how patriarchy has stripped us of the ability to love. In doing so she reminds us how much we need to continue striving in our journeys of loving (especially self love) if we ever want to experience our full capacities to love. Every chapter of this book is ~life changing~* and accessible to read for non-academics. I’m so grateful for my feminist friends for gifting it to me!
Goni Halevi
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Like everything bell hooks writes, this book is a revelation. I especially loved everything she has to say about romantic friendship and the importance of building a circle of love. This should be required reading for women of all ages, everywhere.
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. ...more
Katharine Bull
Jan 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"Every woman should have, in her circle of love, companions of her soul." ...more
Karlee Butler
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
A bit redundant for me.
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
Bre Franklin
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ughhhh i LOVED this book. bell hooks' writing always has me reevaluating my entire life after every single sentence. I can't express how essential it was for me to read this book at this point in my life. Everything she says is so spot on, I wanted to highlight the entire book.

Below are some of my favorite excerpts:

Marriage was the safe place- a place where women could bury dreams and pretend, create a make-believe world and remain there forever.

I had taken a close look at my parents' marriage
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
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Have never recommended a book to more people. Thankful for the communion that brought me to reading it.
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
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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

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“Love is a combination of care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect and trust.” 339 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?” 184 likes
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