SOCIAL SCIENCES

The Golden Condom: And Other Essays on Love Lost and Found

Picador. Apr. 2016. 288p. notes. ISBN 9781250055750. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781250055767. PSYCH
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Psychotherapist Safer's (The Normal One) collection of essays is a breakdown of what it truly means to love and not be loved in return. Gathering stories from patients, friends, colleagues, and her own love life, Safer provides psychotherapeutic insight into a near and dear topic. The titular "golden condom" refers not only to a specific story of a spray-painted condom but also the idea of sexual conquest or perhaps those persons who consider themselves too worthy. Not all the accounts are sexually focused, as the doctor relates a friend's betrayal in later life to that of the disloyalty of her golden condom from years past. At the end of the day, the hurt comes from the same place. Not all of the tales are gloomy, however, and Safer provides tips and useful ideas for dealing with both the heartache and joy that comes with any form of love. She also covers some history of psychotherapy; critics of Sigmund Freud may want to avoid this one.
VERDICT At times lengthy and repetitive, with footnotes that at points seem avoidable, this text can get a bit bogged down and becomes less accessible. However, the narratives and their protagonists offer the reader a mirror, friend, and confidant for personal experiences. Anyone interested in psychotherapy or simple matters of love will enjoy this title.

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