Monday, May 23, 2011
Love Shrinks: A Memoir Of A Marriage Counselor's Divorce / by Sharyn Wolf
So what happens when the experts fail? If professionals can't get the job done, what's to become of the rest of us? In the past few years licensed psychotherapist Sharyn Wolf has been a media mainstay on shows like "Oprah", "The View" and the "Today Show Live". Her target area of expertise: advice for married couples. She's also authored a series of bestselling books offering advice on how to build a successful marriage and maintain cohesion between the spouses. So it came as something of a surprise to her many fans and millions of viewers that her own marriage of 15 years had ended in divorce. Even more disturbing was the fact that the union had been a failure for quite some time, practically a self-submerging pit from which the author never thought she'd get out of.
Things had been bad for nearly a decade for the two smart and talented people (both Wolf and her husband are professionals as well as performing musicians) who likened their marriage to being "locked together" in a prison. Wolf, ever the psychoanalyst, delves into why things went the way they did. Despite her husband's frequent sentiments of devotion, his fidelity and seemingly good health, it seems he just didn't get Sharyn. He never read her books, never escorted her to parties or her various speaking engagements, never quite displayed enough open affection; he took too long to make essentially mundane choices, carelessly made serious decisions without her input and, not necessarily his fault but damaging to their relaitionship all the same, experienced an unexpected and drastic drop-off in virility.
As much of the book muses on the effects of the author's shortcomings as her spouse's. "Girls like me stay in bad relationships because we don't want to upset anyone." (xvii). So she claims about her childhood-inspired desire to not be seen as a hassle. Her tentative behavior and frequent fear of comprimise helped her stay miserable as the marriage dragged on. Intermittently she offers anecdotes about clients and patients she's counseled over the years, weaving together their own private misgivings with her own sense of inferiority. Wolf can write well enough and authentically enough, but at times her insights, honest as they are, just seem a little too scattered to offer up a sound resolution or satisfying conclusion. The story of the doomed marriage becomes a little too bogged down amid Wolf's tangents and sidenotes. But this isn't a bad memoir and many readers will identify with the author's candid approach to her frankly humiliating circumstances. (306.893092 WOLF)