MAY 1999 |
ALSO | Remnick's "Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire"
LAST | Colin Renfrew's
ARCHIVES | Books
ANNIE L. CLARK
What can I say about this book? Well, the subtitles on the chapters are in a really cool font.
I do believe that's the only good thing I can say.
If this were a great literary work, if this book had any insights or meanings, it might be possible to overlook the constant run-on sentences, hanging fragments and misplaced commas among other grammatical errors. While there is a disclaimer at the end pointing out that the book should be heard and not read, this freedom with the English language only served to make this book more horrendous.
"Your Other Half" is a preachy little epitaph from two people who are not psychologists or any other related profession. It's a controlling, over-bearing, self-absorbed man and his quick-to-agree wife.
Tamara and Wayne had been married and divorced three times between them before they met. Now, they say, they know why they failed before. Now they have the secret to life. They are each other's other half, the perfect match to themselves. Perfectly annoying!
What this book says, over and over, in every single chapter, is that there is the right person out there for everyone. Once you find this right person, everything that's wrong with your life will be right. You will never fight about anything; and your mate will always know exactly what you are thinking. You will always have really good sex. You will never disagree on anything. Even if you can't stand brussels sprouts, you will love them now because there is no compromise anymore.
Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell claim that in a perfect relationship, you will never have to work hard, try to communicate, or compromise. For these two people to claim that you can find a relationship without any compromising, any hard work, any fighting, any relationship when you never fail to communicate perfectly, is the most absurd thing I have ever heard.
They advise everyone to leave their partners or spouses immediately, and not be with anyone else until you have found "Your Other Half". If there is anything even slightly different, leave your spouse immediately. Therefore, based on this book, I think that people should marry their twins. I mean, there's a person who looks exactly like you, acts exactly like you, came from the same womb, everything. What more could you want?
After all, a marriage where people have different personalities is a sham. For example, I am going to marry a man who likes to read different books than I do. Gosh, I better run for the hills. As a matter of fact, I think we may disagree about the use of spinach in lasagna. That's it. Our marriage is doomed from the start.
Actually, I think we may have had a fight. And maybe, we have compromised before. I guess this should be a huge warning - am not with my other half, and I should leave him now.
Anyone who is able to sit down and read this book through should be awarded the congressional medal of honor. It is a poorly-written, nagging, whining epistle that will not help anyone. Basically, their only advice is to give up immediately on your marriage, and sit by the window and wait for "Your Other Half". If you think you love someone, make sure you cannot say, "I love him but..." As in, "I love him but in the morning he has bad breath." This is certainly the sign of a bad marriage.
However, this book does make some good points about people in general. It reminds people that if you are with someone who abuses you, he does not love you. If she drinks or uses drugs constantly, she does not love you and will only hurt you. And the "I love her but..." point is well-taken if it's "I love her but I wish she didn't constantly have sex with her ex-boyfriend."
"Your Other Half" also makes the point that sex is not a tool to catch someone with. Instead, Wayne and Tamara point out, it is the highest form of love between two people, and should not be entered into (no pun intended) without love. They note that people who use their bodies as a weapon will never win, but will only get badly hurt. This book is probably full of good advice for headstrong teenagers.
I walked away from this book feeling as though I had sat through a boring and preachy lecture. I was also disturbed by the vibes I got about this couple's relationship: I got the feeling that Wayne was a control freak and that Tamara had been in so many bad relationships she didn't know any better. She stands one step behind him, always agreeing.
The book also falls pitifully short in the category of advise. These people tell you not to marry the wrong person, wait until you find the right person. They even provide some warning signs for knowing it's the wrong person. But they offer no way to find the right person, and no clues to tell you when you have found him. "You will just know. You won't have any independent thoughts anymore." This book also does not offer advise about how to get out of a bad relationship; it just instructs you to do so immediately. It also says that your children will be much happier and healthier and will learn to love better if you divorce immediately.
I feel that this book should be taken with a very skeptical view. Anyone with a weak mind should steer clear of this book, or this person may be disillusioned into believing that no one is his or her "right half," and will spend one's life alone.
I would not recommend this book unless you are looking for a good laugh, and some severe nausea.
ANNIE L. CLARK, a linguistics specialist who works in voice-recognition software, is a contributing writer for Renaissance Online Magazine.