The US Review of Books

by Lynn Hubschman
book review by Toby Berry
“The opposite of love is selfishness.”

Categorized as a family/childcare book, this body of work is more of an encyclopedia for all stages of life and understanding. That sounds dry, but it is certainly not. This is a self-help book on mental and physical health that everyone can benefit from.

Eat, Pray, Love, the famous bestseller by Elizabeth Gilbert, could theoretically fit into the self-help genre, but Gilbert’s book is impractical for most. Self-help generally presumes the pursuit of happiness, but engaging in successful meditation and world travel for enlightenment is not a path many people can take. Most just want day-to-day peace-of-mind. Woozie knows and explains how to achieve it and what pitfalls to try to avoid or expect along the way. She explains that seemingly destructive behaviors might be inevitable (a child hates his or her mom for a while) but are temporary on the way to adult happiness.

Hubschman tells all as she knows it. From family dynamics to sexual dynamics she offers straightforward, blunt information. She is an excellent writer with no pedantic overtones. Reading Woozie’s (aka Hubschman’s) wisdom is like having an evening out with a wise and deeply cherished personal friend. At times, relationship advice morphs into parenting advice. That is natural once you think about it. The kids are watching. “Who is in control, who makes the major decisions, and who is willing to be vulnerable are all part…Mothers take notice…free your sons to be loving men!” There is so much food for thought in that one short page.

One chapter discusses old-fashioned stereotypes that might still hold true, “Girls want commitment and guys want sex.” According to Hubschman, that is still generally true today. Still, other parts of the book give details about the biology of sex, the mechanics of transgender transitioning, anatomy, and physiology. There is so much in this book that the average adult probably doesn’t know. Every reader gets an education here. She teaches or in some cases reminds us that “How you feel about yourself determines how you allow yourself to be treated.” This is a loaded, blunt, but important point. What Hubschman’s book hopes to help readers learn is that “This life is not a dress rehearsal and whatever it takes for you to go on and be a completed reasonably happy person is always the goal.”

Read this book and then empower yourself to make any necessary changes, Hubschman advises, but she says it more indirectly and comically when she says, “So, listen to what you say and how you say it. Listen to what the people around you talk about. If you want to throw up… move on.” How to choose or recognize true love, how to keep it going, and how to heal if it doesn’t—no other book or even volumes of work cover as much ground in such an entertaining way. Woozie, who seems to have heard and seen it all in life and/or in her private therapy practice is just as good at writing about it as she seems to be at giving professional advice to her clients.

The breadth of the book’s content is unparalleled. Pride, control, affairs, selfishness. Hubschman covers all of these traits and situations. In her practice and in our society in general, she notes, “We don’t do prevention in America; we only throw money at crises.” So, before the inevitable crisis occurs, it may be wise to read this book; it might not be nearly as costly.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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