Love Understood: The Science of Who, How, and Why We Love

. 9781472968326. Young-Eisendrath, Polly. Love Between Equals: Relationship as a Spiritual Path. Shambhala. Jan. 2019. 240p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781611804782. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9780834841802. PSYCH/RELATIONSHIPS/SELF-HELP
In our society of instant gratification, the discipline to understand and shape love relationships eludes many. Here, journalist Mucha and psychologist Young-Eisendrath converge on the idea of love as responsible and courageous but from different vantage points. Mucha gathers interviews with people worldwide from a variety of backgrounds and professions who discuss their feelings about attraction, commitment, polygamy, grief, and other topics. Young-Eisendrath sees principles of Buddhism as instrumental in the path to becoming equal, relating both her own experiences and those of her clients through the spiritual lens of interdependence, impermanence, and imperfection. Taking these concepts to heart lets us cultivate compassion for ourselves and our beloved, providing the impetus to practice the relationship skills set forth by the respective author. Both books advocate personal responsibility and relationship literacy for oneself, one's lover, and one's children. Young-Eisendrath's work would have been more readable had more examples been interwoven with the narrative; Mucha's frequent (and sometimes irrelevant) footnotes are often distracting.
VERDICT All-around solid choices for readers interested in love, relationships, and self-improvement, with Young-Eisendrath's recommended for readers seeking a non-Western perspective.

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