Terri's Reviews > A General Theory of Love

A General Theory of Love by Thomas Lewis
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's review
Apr 18, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: eastridge-book-club
Read from April 18 to June 26, 2011

It took me awhile to get through this book and I really could only read it in short pieces. It's failing is that it reads a little too much like a textbook with very large words - it is written by 3 super intelligent M.D.s with degrees in psychiatry. This isn't bad, but I did have to pause and think and ponder on words and context to figure out their meaning at times.

Most of the book builds a framework of knowledge on which the authors base their conclusions in the last chapter or two. I was fascinated by each tidbit, but again I had to take them in pieces. I almost gave up because although I enjoyed the knowledge, I couldn't see where I was being led until the last bit.

The conclusions of the authors resonated so much with me, however, that I can overlook any issues I had with the intellectual language. What I got from the book was that our society cannot survive if we don't return to an acceptance that we are deeply emotional creatures who NEED each other and who NEED to teach emotional connectedness to the next generation.

A few favorite quotes from the author's concluding chapters:
p. 198 "decades of attachment research endorse the conclusion that children form elaborate, individualized relationships with special, irreplaceable others."

p. 199 "love matters in the life of a child"

p. 203 "Parents who contemplate staying at home to raise children are treated instead to the cultural chorus of well-meaning dissuaders: you're bright; you're talented; wouldn't you rather do something with your time? . . . In its baldest tally of values, our culture automatically equates a dedication to full-time parenting with the absence of ambition. But in what human activity could there possibly be more?"

p. 203 "Because so much of parenthood is giving . . . incoming emotional sustenance is indispensable for balance. The presence of two parents is neither unintended superfluity nor mere economic advantage; parents need each other for support and replenishment."

p. 204 "The emotional fate of children is inextricably bound to the ability of their parents to love one another - a skill that is falling into disrepair."

And finally:
p. 225-26 "Our children are the builders of tomorrow's world - quiet infants, clumsy toddlers, and running, squealing second graders, whose pliable neurons carry within them all humanity's hope. . . They can create the next world or they can annihilate it. In either case, they will do so in our names."

My religion and faith teach the same principles about the necessity of families and the ideal of two parents who love and rear children in righteousness with love and concern for each other and for their children. I'm a well educated woman who made a conscious choice to stay home and be my children' mother. Innumerable times I have been made to feel that my choice is wrong and that I'm wasting my life. I constantly feel that I must defend myself. It was refreshing to hear from an educated, eloquent source, that my choice is not only a good idea for me, but a vital choice for the success of future generations.

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message 1: by Anna (new)

Anna Thanks for sharing the quotes from the book. I really enjoyed reading them.

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