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All About Love offers radical new ways to think about love by showing its interconnectedness in our private and public lives. In eleven concise chapters, hooks explains how our everyday notions of what it means to give and receive love often fail us, and how these ideals are established in early childhood. She offers a rethinking of self-love (without narcissism) that will All About Love offers radical new ways to think about love by showing its interconnectedness in our private and public lives. In eleven concise chapters, hooks explains how our everyday notions of what it means to give and receive love often fail us, and how these ideals are established in early childhood. She offers a rethinking of self-love (without narcissism) that will bring peace and compassion to our personal and professional lives, and asserts the place of love to end struggles between individuals, in communities, and among societies. Moving from the cultural to the intimate, hooks notes the ties between love and loss and challenges the prevailing notion that romantic love is the most important love of all. Visionary and original, hooks shows how love heals the wounds we bear as individuals and as a nation, for it is the cornerstone of compassion and forgiveness and holds the power to overcome shame. For readers who have found ongoing delight and wisdom in bell hooks's life and work, and for those who are just now discovering her, All About Love is essential reading and a brilliant book that will change how we think about love, our culture-and one another.


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All About Love offers radical new ways to think about love by showing its interconnectedness in our private and public lives. In eleven concise chapters, hooks explains how our everyday notions of what it means to give and receive love often fail us, and how these ideals are established in early childhood. She offers a rethinking of self-love (without narcissism) that will All About Love offers radical new ways to think about love by showing its interconnectedness in our private and public lives. In eleven concise chapters, hooks explains how our everyday notions of what it means to give and receive love often fail us, and how these ideals are established in early childhood. She offers a rethinking of self-love (without narcissism) that will bring peace and compassion to our personal and professional lives, and asserts the place of love to end struggles between individuals, in communities, and among societies. Moving from the cultural to the intimate, hooks notes the ties between love and loss and challenges the prevailing notion that romantic love is the most important love of all. Visionary and original, hooks shows how love heals the wounds we bear as individuals and as a nation, for it is the cornerstone of compassion and forgiveness and holds the power to overcome shame. For readers who have found ongoing delight and wisdom in bell hooks's life and work, and for those who are just now discovering her, All About Love is essential reading and a brilliant book that will change how we think about love, our culture-and one another.

30 review for All About Love: New Visions

  1. 4 out of 5

    TJ

    The best and worst thing about this book was hooks' commitment throughout the work to making powerful, decisive statements that wanted to leave little room open for argument. When she was on, this authoritative voice felt like a revelation -- such as when she declares that abuse and love cannot coexist. It's a beautiful, affirming, heartbreaking statement, that seems to have a large weight of truth behind it, at once the most and least obvious thing. The definition of love that she borrows and e The best and worst thing about this book was hooks' commitment throughout the work to making powerful, decisive statements that wanted to leave little room open for argument. When she was on, this authoritative voice felt like a revelation -- such as when she declares that abuse and love cannot coexist. It's a beautiful, affirming, heartbreaking statement, that seems to have a large weight of truth behind it, at once the most and least obvious thing. The definition of love that she borrows and endorses is also very powerful and transformative. Not to mention, incredibly useful. But when she isn't on -- the voice feels moralizing and sermon-like, hard to swallow. I mean, she really used the phrase "hedonistic pleasure" seriously. & her thoughts on work, her feeling that work can be bearable if done with love, feels downright degrading, especially alongside the way she talks about things like having TWO HOMES, one in the city, one outside of the city -- a pretty extreme display of class privilege. I feel that hooks sees too much room for possibility in a world so totally dominated by capitalism. Basically there are some real gems of thought in here, practical gems, but I felt like I was digging for them through a lot of writing that I disagreed with, didn't care about, felt annoyed by, or felt like wasn't written with "people like me" -- queer/gay folks -- in mind in the slightest.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Well, so, OK. Here's the thing. This book changed/is changing my life. It came to me at just the right second (by which I mean, I took it from the house where I was house-sitting at just the right second), and I have taken it straight to heart. hooks is in the business of life-changing, really, whether she's teaching us how to love in the face of a planet of lovelessness, or teaching us to find, confront, and exorcise the racism and sexism by which we invariably live. What got to me in "All Abou Well, so, OK. Here's the thing. This book changed/is changing my life. It came to me at just the right second (by which I mean, I took it from the house where I was house-sitting at just the right second), and I have taken it straight to heart. hooks is in the business of life-changing, really, whether she's teaching us how to love in the face of a planet of lovelessness, or teaching us to find, confront, and exorcise the racism and sexism by which we invariably live. What got to me in "All About Love" was honesty. Telling the truth in order to pave the way for unadorned, loving interaction. WOO CHILD there was a lesson I haven't been ready to hear until right now, but shoot am I hearing it now. To give two brief criticisms, because it wasn't actually perfect, and that's important: it's pretty god-heavy. If that's not your thing, take note. bell loves god. Also, it's pretty gender-essentialist. I agree, for example, that men are shamed out of revealing their needs and wants for love more than women are, but there is nary a mention of genderqueer identities. What happens if you are neither from Mars NOR Venus?? Here are my notes from this extraordinary book: -it is much easier in our world to discuss the loss of love than the presence or, particularly, the search for love. - love is comprised of, but not equal to: commitment, affection, recognition, respect, trust, communication. -cathexis: the process of investment in a person wherein the other becomes important to us. often confused for love; as in "I can't leave her. We've been through too much together." -love: the will to extend oneself to nurture our or another's spiritual growth. -Love and abuse CANNOT COEXIST. we cling to notions of love that make abuse acceptable, in order to avoid acknowledging either that we must leave, or that we have been abused and DIDN'T leave, or that, horror of horrors, we have never yet received real love. -dissimilation: taking on whatever appearance is needed to manipulate a situation. one of the barriers to truth-telling in love. -prescribed patriatrchal masculinity requires active denial of the yearning for love. this is because patriarchy is the worst. -secrecy vs privacy: power, dishonesty struggle vs. emotional space, autonomy -a loving ethic could look like this: working for individuals you admire and respect; giving all to our relationships; seeing our lives and fates as tied to everyone else's on the planet -live with love. make money, because you'll need it. but give all to love. -there is no love specifically meant for romance. love is an ethic, a state of readiness and openness and willingness to struggle. commitment and behavior change to reflect specific situations, but love is the same all around. -females are given more socially accepted space to search for and talk about love, but are not necessarily any better equipped than males to BE loving. -love is an act of will, not a strong feeling. why else would you promise to love someone forever? you can't promise feeling. you can promise a readiness to work, to build love further every day. -true love IS unconditional. this is not an excuse to fuck up. -you cannot change someone, but you can both agree to be changed by the expeience of being together. -instead of "falling in love," think of the mysterious 'spark' feeling as a sign blinking: "love could be here, if you're willing to take some risks and get your hands dirty..."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    I could write almost every page of this book a five-star review. bell hooks, African-American feminist author of the revelationary The Will to Change , creates another visionary work with All About Love. She argues for the importance of love in our private and public lives in powerful and innovative ways. At first the title of this book made me roll my eyes a little, in a "oh yay, a book that's all about love, how cliche" kinda way. But from the very first page, hooks offers piercing insights I could write almost every page of this book a five-star review. bell hooks, African-American feminist author of the revelationary The Will to Change , creates another visionary work with All About Love. She argues for the importance of love in our private and public lives in powerful and innovative ways. At first the title of this book made me roll my eyes a little, in a "oh yay, a book that's all about love, how cliche" kinda way. But from the very first page, hooks offers piercing insights into the importance of love and how our predominant culture fails to teach us how to love. For example, a quote early on in the book, about how love and abuse cannot coexist: "When we understand love as the will to nurture our own and another's spiritual growth, it becomes clear that we cannot claim to love if we are hurtful and abusive. Love and abuse cannot coexist. Abuse and neglect are, by definition, the opposites of nurturance and care. Often we hear of a man who beats his children and wife and then goes to the corner bar and passionately proclaims how much he loves them. If you talk to the wife on a good day, she may also insist he loves her, despite his violence. An overwhelming majority of us come from dysfunctional families in which we were taught we were not okay, where we were shamed, verbally and/or physically abused, and emotionally neglected even as were taught to believe that we were loved. For most folks it is just too threatening to embrace a definition of love that would no longer enable us to see love as present in our families. Too many of us need to cling to a notion of love that either makes abuse acceptable or at least makes it seem that whatever happened was not that bad." This book will challenge readers and make many of us uncomfortable. hooks interrogates normalized mediums of love in our society - romantic love, the nuclear family, etc. - and shows how these default systems can lead to problems. She touches on such an important and thought-provoking set of topics, including: how the media almost never portrays healthy, communicative relationships, how capitalism and patriarchy ruin love by forcing women to provide emotional labor while men do not, and how we take friendships for granted because of romance. Throughout all of this, she illuminates a path toward a more loving relationship with yourself and others, so we can all work toward a more loving society. A powerful quote about friendship: "Most of us are raised to believe we will either find love in our first family (our family of origin) or, if not there, in the second family we are expected to form through committed romantic couplings, particularly those that lead to marriage and/or lifelong bondings. Many of us learn as children that friendship should never be seen as just as important as family ties. However, friendship is the place in which a great majority of us have our first glimpse of redemptive love and caring community... Often we take friendships for granted even when they are the interactions where we experience mutual pleasure. We place them in a secondary position, especially in relation to romantic bonds. This devaluation of our friendships creates an emptiness we may not see when we are devoting all our attention to finding someone to love romantically or giving all our attention to a chosen loved one." Overall, an inspiring book I wish more people would read. I did disagree with hooks's analysis a few times (e.g., I do not think you have to be spiritual or religious to experience love, I perceived her interpretation of the Monica Lewinsky affair as simplistic and slut-shaming) but by and large hooks articulated so many ideas that have always percolated in my mind, just in a coherent and compelling way. Other reviewers complain that hooks does not support all of her arguments with research; while I respect that complaint, we also must keep in mind that the research we produce reflects the values of our time, and hooks is way ahead of 2017 (i.e., the land of Trump's America). I hope that we can all learn from hooks's wisdom and practice the art of loving with ourselves, each other, and the world around us. I will end this review with one last quote about viewing love as an action: "This same politics of greed is at play when folks seek love. They often want fulfillment immediately. Genuine love is rarely an emotional space where needs are instantly gratified. To know genuine love we have to invest time and commitment... Many people want love to function like a drug, giving them an immediate and sustained high. They want to do nothing, just passively receive the good feeling. In patriarchal culture men are especially inclined to see love as something they should receive without expending effort. More often than not they do not want to do the work that love demands. When the practice of love invites us to enter a place of potential bliss that is at the same time a place of critical awakening and pain, many of us turn our backs to love."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Always Pouting

    I started off really liking this book and then it i just kind of lost interest. I think the book is very well written which I always find appealing. I also think it's interesting to think of love as a verb and in the framework laid out by Hooks. I just like others started to get put off by the sermonizing. It can be cool to read where others are coming from but I guess what I found off putting was for me love is about extending others understanding and the benefit of the doubt but her comments a I started off really liking this book and then it i just kind of lost interest. I think the book is very well written which I always find appealing. I also think it's interesting to think of love as a verb and in the framework laid out by Hooks. I just like others started to get put off by the sermonizing. It can be cool to read where others are coming from but I guess what I found off putting was for me love is about extending others understanding and the benefit of the doubt but her comments about Monica Lewinsky and Nicole Brown Simpson did not feel aligned with that. There was a lot of presumptions made about why people partake in specific behaviors and it felt a little bit too broad a generalization to say that it's a lack of love causing all the issues she pointed out. Also like others said the spiritually stuff just didn't do it for me. I'm sure it appeals to others and helps them find meaning but that just isn't for me. It also felt really repetitive as I kept making my way through it and halfway through I kind of felt like I had gotten the point. Anyways well written and addressing a topic in an interesting and engaging way. Especially with its emphasis on care work. Just could have done without the random usage of people's choices to pass judgment certain points without considering other things that might motivate those choices. Also gets a little repetitive and the spirituality aspect wasn't for me. I loved the opening though and would give that five stars. Overall though this was 3.5 stars for me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Iamshadow

    While there were a couple of bits of this book I liked (hence the two stars), on the whole, this is a thumbs down for me. Firstly, it was incredibly heterocentric. While the book at times acknowledged gay people existed, that didn't change the tone throughout. The only two gay people mentioned were a graffiti artist who did a work the author admired that was apparently commentary on the (then current) AIDS crisis, and a lesbian who on the author's advice maintained contact with her toxic, homopho While there were a couple of bits of this book I liked (hence the two stars), on the whole, this is a thumbs down for me. Firstly, it was incredibly heterocentric. While the book at times acknowledged gay people existed, that didn't change the tone throughout. The only two gay people mentioned were a graffiti artist who did a work the author admired that was apparently commentary on the (then current) AIDS crisis, and a lesbian who on the author's advice maintained contact with her toxic, homophobic family. Apparently that was the right thing to do, because they've 'improved' over time. Sorry, lady, reality check. Queer people do not exist as diversity lessons for straight people. Cutting people who hate us is often GENUINELY a matter of survival. Just because the family structure is somewhat maintained does not justify the acid erosion of homophobia, up close and personal, on the individual. If you're in that situation, just get the fuck out. Secondly, apparently, abusers are that way because of the patriarchy - because they had horrible childhoods and/or society made them do it. Oh, and empathising with them and forgiving them is the one true way to being awesomely full of joy and self-esteem. This, I would have thrown the book at the wall about, if I had a physical copy. While toxic masculinity and the patriarchy are actual things, these sentiments fail to acknowledge that some people out there hurt people because they like hurting people. My abuser had an idyllic childhood. He hurt me because he is a sociopathic sadist with a taste for little girls. He wasn't made that way by his parents or society - he did it because he wanted to, and he has no guilt for what he did. He's probably out there doing it to some other kid right now. Empathise with him? What would that teach me? Nothing. Forgive him? Listen. One of the most self-esteem building things I ever taught myself was that I didn't have to forgive. That honouring my experience was more important, and acknowledging that NOTHING justified the hurt I went through was more powerful than just giving him back my power again by saying it didn't matter, that it was excusable. It DID matter. And all trying to forgive him would do would be to put my own needs last, yet again. Thirdly, she spent a whole whack of the middle complaining about kids today and modern society and how back before the '50s, materialism didn't exist (whut), whining that current day relationships are 'disposable as Dixie cups if someone's needs aren't being met' while almost in the same breath saying how great and important it is that people have the freedom to leave unhealthy relationships (confusing), and managing to victim blame Nicole Simpson and call Monica Lewinsky 'a prostitute' and a 'a fake victim' while rationalising that Bill Clinton couldn't keep it in his pants because of some childhood sad or something, like we should feel sorry for him for taking advantage of a woman decades younger than himself that he was in a huge position of power over (just plain tasteless, and really not the kind of thing I expected from someone labelled as a feminist with a speciality in male dominance) . Lastly, despite acknowledging that organised religion is not the answer for everything, this book went weirdly heavily Christian at times, notably when the author wrote some whole section about angels being real and how the story of Jacob and Rachel was about him growing as a person, somehow. All I could think was, I remember that story, and it is LITERALLY about a man buying women like cattle. It's about trade - work in exchange for women. It's not about love at all. Oh, and because I actually don't believe in a soul or angels, I'm spiritually dead or not even human or something, IDEK. Way to go, there. Yes, I'm an atheist. Yes, I somehow manage to be a good, kind, empathetic, loving person despite not believing in God. Fancy that.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ciara

    i find it astonishing that so many people i otherwise respect & admire got so into this book. i would love to try an experiment where this book is re-released under some nobody's name, rather than bell hooks, & we can see how people respond to it when they aren't actually responding to the whole bell hooks association. i have LOVED a lot of hooks's books. this was a big pile of crap, & not just that, it ushered in a whole generation of terrible crappy books written by bell hooks. there has been i find it astonishing that so many people i otherwise respect & admire got so into this book. i would love to try an experiment where this book is re-released under some nobody's name, rather than bell hooks, & we can see how people respond to it when they aren't actually responding to the whole bell hooks association. i have LOVED a lot of hooks's books. this was a big pile of crap, & not just that, it ushered in a whole generation of terrible crappy books written by bell hooks. there has been a serious upswing in the importance of love & jesus in hooks's books in the last several years, & a serious downswing in interesting political thought. maybe i am biased because i am not a christian? & because i am not interested in lovey-dovey mega-positivity? it works for some people, but it's not my thing. i just HATED this book. not only was it boring & unsatisfying, it didn't even make any sense. you could start reading it from the back, & read every sentence backwards, or you could cut all the words out & scramble them together & piece them together into a whole different book, & it would say the same thing: yay for love! love is a revolutionary force! it's so important to work on being loving! this is now what i am looking for when i pick up a bell hooks book (full disclosure: it'snot what I am looking for when i pick up ANY book). blech. i just didn't get this book. major disappointment.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Ward

    My book club chose this book in honor of Valentine's Day. It's the first (and probably now only) book I've ever read by Bell Hooks, and I was excited to read it. When I checked it out of the library along with a huge stack of other books, the librarian pulled it out and said, "Oh, this book is SO good." Which made me even more excited to read it. If she had stopped after the first two chapters, I probably would have recommended it as a worthwhile essay to read. I liked that she really took the ti My book club chose this book in honor of Valentine's Day. It's the first (and probably now only) book I've ever read by Bell Hooks, and I was excited to read it. When I checked it out of the library along with a huge stack of other books, the librarian pulled it out and said, "Oh, this book is SO good." Which made me even more excited to read it. If she had stopped after the first two chapters, I probably would have recommended it as a worthwhile essay to read. I liked that she really took the time to find a definition of love that spoke to her, and I liked the one she came up with (essentially, defining love as the will to extend one's self to nurture one's own or another's growth). I also really liked the chapter on loving parenting. Unfortunately, the eleven chapters that came after that completely ruined the book for me. I felt like she was really talking down to me, and I got very frustrated with the fact that she kept drawing sweeping conclusions about love in a pseudo-academic way, without actually citing any references or giving any concrete examples. For example, she espouses nothing but complete honesty with those you love, and completely denounces keeping "secrets" or any other form of privacy, without paying any attention to the potential consequences to a relationship when one member decides to completely remove their filters. And she missed so many potentially brilliant opportunities to generate more interesting discussion. For example, when she described President Clinton as engaging in "deceitful behavior" because of a "fundamental flaw in his self-esteem", and then stopped there, completely neglecting to discuss the reasons why the Clintons stayed together despite his very public affair. What Bill and Hilary Clinton do for each other as an extraordinarily powerful couple, and whether or not the ways they help and hurt each other could or should be construed as love, would have made a much more interesting chapter on commitment.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    I really wanted to like this book, because I like bell hooks, her ideas and what she stands for. But, my god! I found myself having to scan page after page in a half-read because I couldn't bare the self-help dialogue that she was engaging in. Furthermore, I found myself absolutely cringing over the books she referenced, not to mention how many times she quoted The Road Less Traveled. Yes. I felt like some kind of academic snob while reading it, each time I would roll my eyes and skip ahead. Yes. I I really wanted to like this book, because I like bell hooks, her ideas and what she stands for. But, my god! I found myself having to scan page after page in a half-read because I couldn't bare the self-help dialogue that she was engaging in. Furthermore, I found myself absolutely cringing over the books she referenced, not to mention how many times she quoted The Road Less Traveled. Yes. I felt like some kind of academic snob while reading it, each time I would roll my eyes and skip ahead. Yes. I feel like an even bigger asshole writing this all here for public viewing. Having said that, I did take something big from this book, and that was hooks' idea that we need to have a working definition of love, before love can come about in its it truest form. I think in saying this, she articulated something that we all know intellectually, but in a way that really translates. For this, it was worth the read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nathan "N.R." Gaddis

    Yes. Please do read this. Make yourself better make the world better. You can trust bell hooks. eta :: just couldn't not add this. Those giving the one=and two stars, those folks need love too. Be kind. Yes. Please do read this. Make yourself better make the world better. You can trust bell hooks. eta :: just couldn't not add this. Those giving the one=and two stars, those folks need love too. Be kind.

  10. 4 out of 5

    bookmateriality

    I really love bell hooks, but this may be closer to a 2.5 - disliked the religious undertones, the (at times) generalising statements, and lack of rigour (rigour that I was expecting in an ‘exposition’ of the concept of love). It started off well, with some clear and illuminating statements, but I found it inconsistent. The final third of the book seemed to resonate. I found myself experiencing polarised emotions - underlining whole sections, and then laughing at others. I didn’t find hooks’s ex I really love bell hooks, but this may be closer to a 2.5 - disliked the religious undertones, the (at times) generalising statements, and lack of rigour (rigour that I was expecting in an ‘exposition’ of the concept of love). It started off well, with some clear and illuminating statements, but I found it inconsistent. The final third of the book seemed to resonate. I found myself experiencing polarised emotions - underlining whole sections, and then laughing at others. I didn’t find hooks’s explications radical, perhaps because much of what she says is similar to what she writes in The Will to Change (which I read a few years ago). I imagine that I would have thoroughly enjoyed this more if it had been my first reading of anything hooks, early in my teenage years.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    A book all about love. And how it should be the basis of everything. And how loveless our society currently is. Therein lies the rub. bell hooks has some insightful ideas about how love should permeate all of our actions. Work should be lovely too. Hell, taking out the garbage can be lovely. Her definition of love includes the idea that you be invested in the spiritual growth of another/others. It's a concept that hit home for me. Ultimately, though, this book went into some weird spaces that seem A book all about love. And how it should be the basis of everything. And how loveless our society currently is. Therein lies the rub. bell hooks has some insightful ideas about how love should permeate all of our actions. Work should be lovely too. Hell, taking out the garbage can be lovely. Her definition of love includes the idea that you be invested in the spiritual growth of another/others. It's a concept that hit home for me. Ultimately, though, this book went into some weird spaces that seemed too gender-essentialist or preachy to my fluff-allergic self. A case of diminishing returns, then, but one I am happy to have read. The fact that I've brought it up in conversation more than once this past week is also telling. Love more, people! I love the dude grumbling on the metro this morning that everyone else gave a wide berth. Sometimes people yell at me and I smile inappropriately because I can't hide how much I love them and want to help ease their pain. I've had arguments with a friend over whether or not it's ethical to love Hitler. So maybe I'm an easy sell here, but there was still new food for thought. If loving humans seems difficult, you can start by hugging a tree and grow from there! Ok, enough hippie preaching from me. I suppose it's contagious. Peace, friends.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Katelyn

    In writing this review, I felt the need to pose the question: What makes a feminist book? Does it need to deal specifically with feminism, gender inequality, women, etc.? Does it simply need to avoid problematic stereotyping and other issues that contribute to the cultural perpetuation of systemic sexism? Does it need to be written by a self-avowed feminist or inspiring woman? This book does a lot of those things, but most importantly, it is daring in its exposure of an issue that causes deep cult In writing this review, I felt the need to pose the question: What makes a feminist book? Does it need to deal specifically with feminism, gender inequality, women, etc.? Does it simply need to avoid problematic stereotyping and other issues that contribute to the cultural perpetuation of systemic sexism? Does it need to be written by a self-avowed feminist or inspiring woman? This book does a lot of those things, but most importantly, it is daring in its exposure of an issue that causes deep cultural anxiety, perhaps because it is disproportionately attributed to women. Love is a human issue masked as a women's issue. bell hooks diligently unravels the complicated web we've woven about love, revealing its purpose and potential. It is at once intensely personal and widely applicable. Reading these chapters, organized by types of love, we see hooks's process, a format that for some reads as a self-help narrative. For me, it provided an approach to dismantling my own misconceptions about love in my life. While hooks's ideas are not directly useful for my own situation at all times, it is easy to translate her strategies into methods that work for me. For example, I am not a spiritual person, so praying is not something that I find useful, but she states more universally on page 215, "Prayer provides a space where talking cures." For me, this type of healing can be done through journaling or daydreaming. This book is feminist because hooks unapologetically inhabits a subjective space. She is expected to philosophize in a way that is relatable to anyone, to a diverse audience, which is what I have identified as at the root of many criticisms I've read of this volume. Instead, she speaks mainly about herself and her own experiences. In this way, she allows herself and her readers to claim individualized spaces. It encourages personal exploration that happens both internally and externally. This is something that women often need to hear repeated in a society that expects them to sacrifice personal growth for the benefit of others. hooks provides a roadmap of her own journey toward new visions of love, and while my journey will not look the same, it is heartening to know that it has been done, it will be done, and I will think often of her words as I continue down my own, individual path. Not everything in this book resonated with me. There were passages that I took issue with on a basic level. For example, I disagree strongly with her judgment of Monica Lewinsky's participation in the affair with President Clinton; I was angered by her assessment. There were parts that felt dated, which is inevitable when reading a book 15 years after publication. Generally speaking, however, I found this book useful and powerful, and I feel stronger having read it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Roxana

    I have to say I had mixed feelings about this book. I found it eye-opening at times, but other times I simply couldn't connect with it at all, and couldn't quite move past some gender generalisations that the author so passionately claims herself to stand against. It did make me think about the meaning of love and the context of love more widely, yet I still can't agree with some of the principles on which this book is based and the idea that unless love follows certain rules (e.g. "there is no I have to say I had mixed feelings about this book. I found it eye-opening at times, but other times I simply couldn't connect with it at all, and couldn't quite move past some gender generalisations that the author so passionately claims herself to stand against. It did make me think about the meaning of love and the context of love more widely, yet I still can't agree with some of the principles on which this book is based and the idea that unless love follows certain rules (e.g. "there is no fear in love"), it cannot be true love. To me, it's just so much more complex than that, and I don't think there's any one person who holds the absolute truth about it. This is precisely the beauty of it, the fact that our perception of love - because I honestly think it is a matter of perception - changes ever so slightly with new relationships - romantic or otherwise, and that we gain new insights each time, without ever grasping the full meaning of it. In the end, despite the popular appeal of this book, the position adopted by the author often seemed to me rather limiting, constraining, and not something I personally agreed with. 2.5 stars/5

  14. 4 out of 5

    lizzie

    Some friends recommended this book to me because I was going through something traumatic, and I think they were really right. bell hooks talks about love in a way that's so healing. Love is universal, tangible, and transformative. And it comes in so many forms. Also, love isn't about an absence of pain or grief, but something that lives alongside it and makes being alive more bearable. Love is also remarkably different from abuse and the two can't exist at the same time. Love is about communion, Some friends recommended this book to me because I was going through something traumatic, and I think they were really right. bell hooks talks about love in a way that's so healing. Love is universal, tangible, and transformative. And it comes in so many forms. Also, love isn't about an absence of pain or grief, but something that lives alongside it and makes being alive more bearable. Love is also remarkably different from abuse and the two can't exist at the same time. Love is about communion, care, attention, and choice; rather than something perfect that may fall upon you. Truly a healing read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Misty

    This book is a GEM!!! If I were to highlight pages or write notes, I’d be highlighting and rewriting the entire book. There were so many a-ha moments for me. I picked this book up at a time where I needed it most. I look forward to rereading and reflecting.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Casually leafing through bell hooks's All About Love: New Visions a few years ago in a bookstore, I was drawn by her idea that love should be regarded as a verb, not a noun. Traditionally, our culture thinks of love as a thing, a passive feeling of tenderness or affection that comes over us, into which we fall involuntarily, something instinctual over which we have little control. hooks argues, on the contrary, that love is a chosen action, something we must constantly affirm and on which we mus Casually leafing through bell hooks's All About Love: New Visions a few years ago in a bookstore, I was drawn by her idea that love should be regarded as a verb, not a noun. Traditionally, our culture thinks of love as a thing, a passive feeling of tenderness or affection that comes over us, into which we fall involuntarily, something instinctual over which we have little control. hooks argues, on the contrary, that love is a chosen action, something we must constantly affirm and on which we must continually act. Drawing on the work of M. Scott Peck and Erich Fromm, she defines love as an act of will: "the will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth." Love, under this rubric, is an active process, a daily practice of "care, commitment, trust, knowledge, responsibility, and respect," transmitted through honest communication. Love is work, hooks argues, but work which can be learned: a crucial point for the masses of people in our society who feel a lack of love in their lives, but also feel powerless to change that. The art of loving, she argues, is not taught in our society (despite the many how-to courses on every aspect of sexuality), but it ought to be. We are all taught that we should instinctively know how to love well, and that, lacking that knowledge, or having developed it imperfectly, we are stuck in a monstrous state. hooks argues, I believe truthfully, that this is nonsense. Like all crafts, the art of loving is something we must learn and work at in order to do well. I connected deeply with hooks's definition of love as a verb, as generous action. It mirrored my own experience of relationships in which people truly nurture one another, how much work that is and also how rewarding. I also liked the way in which her definition of love explicitly excludes abusive relationships - there can be no nurturing of anyone's spiritual growth in a situation where abuse is happening. hooks astutely points out that while abusive or neglectful relationships can, at times, involve care, they can never be truly loving in the larger sense. This considerably narrows the field of relationships which can be called "loving," but I think such a narrowing is useful. So often we're exposed to the idea that abuse or neglect can coexist with love, and I like hooks's distinction between care - a precious aspect of human relationships in its own right, and one she clearly values - and the larger, mutually nourishing set of actions and feelings that make up genuine love. Although I don't read many social theory or self-help books, the first few pages of her opening chapter were enough to convince me to buy All About Love that very day. I had no idea, though, how much the book as a whole would challenge my thinking. When I picked it up again, I started with hooks's preface, in which she talks about our society's simultaneous obsession with and discomfort around love. She references many books in the self-help tradition, as well as other authors writing about love. I was feeling an intangible discomfort as I read, and I hadn't thought to examine it until I ran smack up against this passage: Yet whenever a single woman over forty brings up the topic of love, again and again the assumption, rooted in sexist thinking, is that she is "desperate" for a man. No one thinks she is simply passionately intellectually interested in the subject matter. No one thinks she is rigorously engaged in a philosophical undertaking wherein she is endeavoring to understand the metaphysical meaning of love in everyday life. No, she is just seen as on the road to "fatal attraction." I was thunderstruck to realize that, despite my professed feminism and attempts to reject sexism, the discomfort hooks describes here is exactly what I was feeling as I read. I was made uncomfortable by references to self-help books and admissions of lovelessness, because I associate them with a traditionally feminine lack of intellectual rigor, the stuff of "chick lit" and daytime television. Do I believe, intellectually, that the philosophical examination of love is less worthwhile than an exploration of, for example, violence? Of course not. Do I believe that the traditionally feminine should be shunned? No. But so pervasive is internalized sexism, that I do apparently carry around these beliefs on a subconscious, emotional level. Throughout my reading of the rest of hooks's book, I had to keep reminding myself of this realization, and thinking carefully about what underlay my reactions. It was a very valuable, if uncomfortable, exercise. All About Love's chapter on honesty also forced me to think about the practice of lying in new ways. I've become pretty inured to to idea of telling a plethora of "little white lies" throughout the day; I think introverts in our society are especially encouraged to do this. I construct a falsely outgoing self, which I present in most casual interactions throughout the day. Instead of declining invitations on the grounds that I need more alone time (the truth), I sometimes invent "other plans" that keep me from accepting, out of a fear of hurting my friends' feelings. As hooks points out, we expect all people to do this to some extent: Lies are told about the most insignificant aspects of daily life. When many of us are asked basic questions, like How are you today? a lie is substituted for the truth. Much of the lying people do in everyday life is done either to avoid conflict or to spare someone's feelings. Hence, if you are asked to come to dinner with someone whom you do not particularly like, you do not tell the truth or simply decline, you make up a story. You tell a lie. In such a situation it should be appropriate to simply decline if stating one's reasons for declining might unnecessarily hurt someone. I was initially hostile to the idea that this kind of everyday lying is harmful to our ability to love. I do believe, despite the general truth that "honesty is the best policy," that there are times when lying is the most appropriate and generous - yes, loving - course of action. But when I press myself, I realize that these times are in the tiny minority, and mostly involve death-bed scenarios. And when I think about the most satisfying, validating interactions I've had, even with strangers, they've often involved the choice to be honest rather than invent an excuse. I'm specifically remembering a time when I was traveling alone in England, and was asked out on a date by a stranger. I knew I didn't want to go, and a series of excuses immediately presented themselves: I had a ticket to a sold-out show, I was really tired, I was going to meet friends, my boyfriend was the jealous type, and so on. But instead, I responded simply, just as hooks suggests: I smiled and said "Oh, no thank you. But thanks for asking." I think my smile and directness sent a clear message while still seeming kind. He wasn't compelled to ask "Well, what about tomorrow night?" or any other follow-up question, and he seemed disarmed by my directness. We parted on friendly terms, and I could enjoy my solitary wanderings with a sense of empowerment, rather than guilt. Memories like this make me wonder how lying has come to seem like the only option to so many people, myself included. And, as hooks points out, the detrimental effects of widespread duplicity are much more serious than this. Messages in the mass media and popular culture (particularly TV, movies, and "romance guildes" like The Rules) teach us that women are expected to be manipulative and deceitful in order to "snare Mr. Right," whereas men are expected to be untruthful in their denial of a need for love and affection. Such behavior becomes normalized: just part of the mass of small, "natural" lies we're expected to tell in the course of a day. Of course such socialization impedes peoples' ability to connect honestly with one another. Seen in this larger context, and despite the fact that my primary relationships are already very open, honest and loving, hooks has convinced me to take a long, hard look at my impulses toward dishonesty for the sake of ease or social comfort. Not every chapter in All About Love was as mind-blowing for me as the first few. There were places I disagreed with her, and a few distracting generalizations that made me wonder about the research backing her up. She claims, for example, that "most" American adults did not have genuine love modeled for them in their families of origin, but instead received a dysfunctional combination of care and abuse or neglect (which was apparently the case in her own family). Having grown up one of the lucky ones, raised by parents who modeled constructive, truly loving practices for me and taught me self-love, boundary-setting, and the need to take responsibility for my actions, I wonder what the statistics are on how many people get what I had as a kid. I'm ready to believe hooks's claim that a majority go without, but since I would have guessed differently, I'd like to see some figures confirming it. Nevertheless, All About Love was thoughtful, well-written, and provocative. It gave me a solid framework in which to think about the act of loving, and even changed my behavior, which I can't say about many books, even fantastic ones. I'm sure I'll be returning to hooks's thoughts on love frequently in the future.

  17. 5 out of 5

    El

    What did I just read? hooks is an incredible person and an incredible writer, but I think the hooks I used to know, and the hooks I want to know now are two very different people. That's okay, because I am in support of people growing and changing and becoming, whatever, their most authentic selves. But I was surprised by this book. I would say the first half or more really did work for me. hooks writes here about LOVE, the power of LOVE, the way LOVE is viewed in our western culture, the problems What did I just read? hooks is an incredible person and an incredible writer, but I think the hooks I used to know, and the hooks I want to know now are two very different people. That's okay, because I am in support of people growing and changing and becoming, whatever, their most authentic selves. But I was surprised by this book. I would say the first half or more really did work for me. hooks writes here about LOVE, the power of LOVE, the way LOVE is viewed in our western culture, the problems some people have with LOVE, etc. etc. She touched on topics that made sense to me. What especially worked for me was a section on Commitment that talked about the workplace, and since I work in a place that doesn't not necessarily foster a loving environment all the time, which I recognize more now that I've removed myself from some of the larger negativeness, I found what she had to say about love in the workplace especially profound. She recognizes that most people think a loving workplace is a thing of myths, but I do believe it can exist, but that so many people are wrapped up in gossip and not showing their true selves, so it's next to impossible for any love to grow out of that. I don't think she necessarily expects people to hold hands and sing Kumbayah all day long - she understands that with love comes work, hard work, it doesn't come easily. And that's the true basis of this book. There's this idea that any true love is a magical thing that comes along, and then our lives are perfect and no work is required. Many people are dissatisfied in perfectly good relationships because they realize they still have to work, and so it must not be true love, right? Wrong, and that's what hooks is trying to help readers understand. But then at some point, there was a shift in tone, and suddenly we're reading about religion and angels. Yes, angels. And the Bible. I understand that there is feminism in Christianity, or so some claim, but I'm not sure I buy it because, well, that ain't my shtick. But to each their own. This book was published in 2000 but the references to popular culture or politics are much more related to the 1990s. While most of the book involved talk of spirituality, once it crossed over into talking about straightforward religion, I started to feel my eyes glazing over. Spirituality is one thing, as far as I'm concerned, because it can be whatever it means to each individual. But religion is usually of an organized establishment, and my experience means something very specific to me, so love in that context is basically the same thing I've heard most of my life from everyone else - that to be religious means to LOVE and then those same people turned around and beat their children after church because of the smallest infraction. That's what I witnessed, though thankfully not in my own household. In any case. There's this attitude that love and the ability to love others comes from that very specific source of spirituality, which I disagree with. I am not religious, I do not believe in the same things a lot of other people believe in, but I am capable of love, I am capable of compassion, I am capable of having morals, all without believe in God. I believe in being a good person, which transcends religion - or at least it should. Still, I can't deny that hooks had some decent things to say throughout most of the book, even if it was a bit self-help-y, even though hooks very specifically discussed how different her book was from other self-help books. She allows there's an issue in most self-help books about gender stereotypes and how they perpetuate those issues in our society, that idea that men are from Mars and that women are from Venus, and all that jazz. Those ideas or problematic in numerous ways, and I feel this was hooks' way of addressing the previous literature. Bottom line: What worked for me here really worked for me; what didn't work for me really didn't work for me. I would not recommend this book to anyone reading bell hooks for the first time - this is probably not the place to start, unless all of what I wrote about above regarding Christianity is something you're interested in. In any case, it's a short book, easy to read. It's not very complicated, but if you're looking for answers, there aren't that many here beyond stop thinking true love is all about rainbows and lollipops. You're going to fall in love and you're going to have to work at it. Get over the idea that relationships are easy-peasy. But she also said some good things about what it means to be in a loving relationship, and I think all of that is work reading. So maybe just read the first four or five chapters? Yeah, maybe do that. Stop reading when she starts talking about angels. Unless that is your thing.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Helly

    bell hooks has this compelling style of expressing her take on what it means to love, be in love and form a healthy definition of the same. What I can assure is that a reader will undergo a spiritual change in the span of 200 pages. So, pick it up, maybe?

  19. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Though I gave this book three stars, it was a very important read for me. I learned a lot from bell hooks about choosing love, about re-vitalizing our dedication to honesty, accountability, and hope. Growing up in a dysfunctional family and as a recovering codependent, I related very well to nearly 70% of the text's offerings and many of the author's own experiences, and I believe that I grew and developed as a person while completing this read. I would recommend this text to everyone. I am unabl Though I gave this book three stars, it was a very important read for me. I learned a lot from bell hooks about choosing love, about re-vitalizing our dedication to honesty, accountability, and hope. Growing up in a dysfunctional family and as a recovering codependent, I related very well to nearly 70% of the text's offerings and many of the author's own experiences, and I believe that I grew and developed as a person while completing this read. I would recommend this text to everyone. I am unable to rate this book higher for a few reasons: 1) As an agnostic with atheistic tendencies who was raised Catholic, hooks concentrates on too many Christian and biblical expressions of faith for my taste. These made me hold the book at arm's-length for portions that I believe I otherwise would have been able to embrace very readily. My desire for less discussions of God is not a judgment, but a personal preference. 2) bell hooks is known for writing about many subjects in ways that are more intellectually accessible for people of many different privilege and education backgrounds, which I applaud. My reservation with this particular text is that, in my opinion, she represents too many generalizations as fact without citations. To her credit, she tends to minimize the academic formatting of her works to make it more accessible for her vast readership, but I have a personal preference for additional footnotes and/or endnotes where appropriate. 3) Lastly, though this text was introduced by the author with full transparency regarding its expression in an ideal world, there were definitely a few moments when I believed her suggestions for returning to and/or embracing love were not realistic enough to be put into practice at all times. As a recovering codependent who has spent many years steadily improving in therapy, I have come to realize that there are definitely some boundaries that individuals have every right to set for themselves and the interactions they have with others, even if those boundaries render the true openness hooks advocates for to be somewhat compromised.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    One to read over and over again, to truly dive into the meanings and to truly understand it because it is one hard to understand, definitely will go back to it in the future.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    On this, the fourth anniversary, and beginning of the fifth year of the Iraq war, while thousands marched on the Pentagon in protest, I finished reading "all about love: New Visions by bell hooks, a truly visionary and life-changing read, which should be required reading for this entire nation. I was initially skeptical of her thesis that society needs to adapt a universal definition of love, but as I continued reading, the idea struck a chord of recognition within me that I certainly hope will On this, the fourth anniversary, and beginning of the fifth year of the Iraq war, while thousands marched on the Pentagon in protest, I finished reading "all about love: New Visions by bell hooks, a truly visionary and life-changing read, which should be required reading for this entire nation. I was initially skeptical of her thesis that society needs to adapt a universal definition of love, but as I continued reading, the idea struck a chord of recognition within me that I certainly hope will continue to resonate for the rest of my days on this spinning orb. She proposes first, that love is not a feeling at all. Love is an action that we choose to take. Additionally, her theory is that love must contain a number of components including: care, affection, trust, respect, open honest communication, and commitment. Love, by definition, may never include abuse...if abuse exists in the relationship...it ain't love. If it does not contain ALL of those components, then it ain't love. She also won me over with her dismissal of John Gray (Mars & Venus guy) because he primarily proposes that females do all the work of changing in a relationship (go bell!). Many who read this will come to the painful realization (as I did) that they do not truly know how to love; and through this suffering will also recognize that, even so, they continue to maintain faith in love. Having had a father like mine provided all too convenient of an excuse for blaming men for my anger and disappointment. bell reminds me that love can not exist in the middle of a power struggle. After clarifying the definition, she describes the barriers, such as greed, dishonesty, violence & domination, and disconnection that prevent people from giving and receiving love. She discusses how society has come to accept and embrace these ideas that murder compassion, promote poverty, and support warfare. This discourse speaks to the space within the heart that so many of us had come to think would never be filled. My conclusion, love....is not corny at all. It is all that really matters.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Let's be honest, without Emma Watson and her 'Our Shared Shelf' book club I never would have read this book. It's just not what I like or enjoy reading. I had to force myself to keep reading, and tbh I don't even know /what/ I was reading. I feel bad for giving only 1 star though since I'm sure there are people who like books like this one, but I just couldn't enjoy it :( Let's be honest, without Emma Watson and her 'Our Shared Shelf' book club I never would have read this book. It's just not what I like or enjoy reading. I had to force myself to keep reading, and tbh I don't even know /what/ I was reading. I feel bad for giving only 1 star though since I'm sure there are people who like books like this one, but I just couldn't enjoy it :(

  23. 4 out of 5

    Margot

    This book was not for me. I admit to not being a big fan of self-help books. I'm sure that they can be a great help to people, but I've given them a few tries and ended up annoyed each time. Sadly, 'All About Love' is no exception. The preface and first two chapters were promising. I especially liked the bits about abuse and love being unable to co-exist, as well as hooks' thoughts on how toxic masculinity influences relationships. The repeated claim that love is an action, not just a feeling, re This book was not for me. I admit to not being a big fan of self-help books. I'm sure that they can be a great help to people, but I've given them a few tries and ended up annoyed each time. Sadly, 'All About Love' is no exception. The preface and first two chapters were promising. I especially liked the bits about abuse and love being unable to co-exist, as well as hooks' thoughts on how toxic masculinity influences relationships. The repeated claim that love is an action, not just a feeling, really resonated with me. It was all downhill from there, though. The overall novel is incoherent and vague. Hooks makes various general statements on society, how women and men behave (containing a serious amount of gender essentialism, by the way) and relationships in our current society. None of these statements are supported by facts or studies. If we're lucky, hooks may include a personal anecdote or refer to one of the numerous (mostly unsourced) quotes, but that's as far as the scientific/academic angle of this book goes. I was expecting a bit more theoretical support to substantiate all of these claims. About halfway, there is a chapter on divine love. I got the feeling hooks was trying to come across as neutral as possible, but if so, her attempts mostly failed. There's an undercurrent here of the idea that spiritual love is the solution to the lovelessness in our capitalist society. While she does not equate spiritual love to organized religion, I still find this whole reasoning a little biased, considering what we know of history and religion. Hooks is a religious person, I'm not. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. Yet at least this chapter still sticks to general references to 'spiritual' love, which can be interpreted pretty broadly. The final chapter abandons this neutrality and inexplicably assumes the existence of angels. I'm not sure what this added to the novel, and I knocked off half a star for this final chapter alone. Furthermore, the overall tone of the novel came across as rather condescending to me, with the Christian references only adding to the sermon-like quality of the writing. Hooks' attitude towards poor people is inconsistent. They're presented either as a romanticized ideal of people who are able to love even without wealth (vs. the lovelessness in our capitalist society), or addicts who cannot love because they are obsessed with wealth - something they lack. Meanwhile, the references to LGBTQ people are sparse, with hooks' own lesbian sister being brandished as a lesson on forgiving homophobic family members, because if you're lucky they might one day respect your identity! Yeah alright, miss me with that. Let me conclude by saying that this novel did contain some gems. There were some genuinely interesting insights which I would have loved to read more about. I'm sad to say though that they were lost in what became a hate-read for me. 'All About Love' is a self-help book which contains no practical solutions, only generalizing statements and quotes from books which I would have probably preferred reading. I'll leave you all with one of the most baffling quotes of this novel, when hooks goes full-on preacher mode and criticizes Monica Lewinsky's giving in to greed: "Concurrently, [Lewinsky] manipulates facts and details, and ultimately prostitutes herself by selling her story for material gain because she is greedy for fame and money, and society condones this get-rich-quick scheme. Her greed is even more intense because she also wants to be seen as a victim. With the boldness of any con artist working the capitalist addiction to fantasy, she attempts to rewrite the script of their consensual exchange of pleasure so that it can appear to be a love story." (124)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    ‘All About Love’ is a warm but challenging take on the politics of love and how people are socialized to see it and allow it to guide their lives, for better or worse. bell hooks is striking and wonderful, as always.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Madyson

    I feel bad giving this book two stars because I can still appreciate and respect the insight in this book, but I ultimately found there was more that I disagreed with than agreed with. Conclusions are made about the importance of love that are often true, but the arguments are biased by the author's experiences. I agree there is a real need to continue discussing love openly and I hope that this novel imspires others to reflect. Perhaps in the future a book on the nature of love will exist that I feel bad giving this book two stars because I can still appreciate and respect the insight in this book, but I ultimately found there was more that I disagreed with than agreed with. Conclusions are made about the importance of love that are often true, but the arguments are biased by the author's experiences. I agree there is a real need to continue discussing love openly and I hope that this novel imspires others to reflect. Perhaps in the future a book on the nature of love will exist that I enjoy more. The author makes the constant assumption that "most of us" do not come from loving families and that "most of us" will never experience love as a result of this (and thus need to embrace love). This experience is obviously true for Hooks, but I don't agree with the assumption that so many people are scarred from childhood, and further that those scars prevenet people from knowing love or being able to naturally fall into healthy relationships. While people (myself included) may struggle from childhood experiences, it doesn't blind us from the possibilities of healthy love. There are many generalizations that form the central narrative of this book that irked me as I read it. For instance, I agree with most of the obsersavtions about the patriarchy and it's limitations for love. When it comes to erotic attraction, she writes that "the pressure on men in a patriarchal society to 'perform' sexually" leads to ignoring other emotional aspectes in relationships and covering up this mistake by "working too much, or finding playmates they like outside their committed marriage or partnership". On women, she writes that they "rarely choose men solely on the basis of erotic connection". Yes, I agree with the observation that the patriarchy includes that pressure on men, but all the other conclusions seem outlandish. Aside from generalizations, I vehemently disagree with her concern of the lack of spirituality in our lives. I respect her faith and sharing her experiences on how religion has been important in her life, but I personally do not feel that a religious understanding of love is necessary to enchance life. That said, I still believe it is beneficial that she shared her perspectives on this subject even though I disagreed. There were a few moments when I thought "yes!" as I read the novel; when Hooks articulated something I felt in my heart or touched on things that reminded me of my personal experiences and gave a voice to my convoluted hurt. But as a whole, the novel seemed to be reflecting on a single line of experience and struggle that I felt did not capture the thought of love as a whole.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hafsa

    This is the first book I've read by bell hooks, and I was so excited to read it. Unfortunately, it fell a bit short of my expectations. There were definitely some parts where I was able to follow her, mainly in the beginning. But closer to the middle and end it sounded like too much of a self-help book (even though she criticized that entire genre for adhering to traditional gender norms) and became a bit too "fluffy". I think she made a LOT of general observations--especially regarding how men This is the first book I've read by bell hooks, and I was so excited to read it. Unfortunately, it fell a bit short of my expectations. There were definitely some parts where I was able to follow her, mainly in the beginning. But closer to the middle and end it sounded like too much of a self-help book (even though she criticized that entire genre for adhering to traditional gender norms) and became a bit too "fluffy". I think she made a LOT of general observations--especially regarding how men and women are in relationships--and failed to back them up with anything besides the anecdotes of her own relationships. What I did like about the book was its underlying message--call to action of sorts. I liked that she incorporated a broader defition of love--familial love, friendship, love of work, divine love, and a universal love for humanity. Her basic definition of love is this: the will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurtuing one's own or another's spiritual growth. She argues that our societies have completely disengaged "love" and that has led to a disintegration in family life, community life, national priorities and international issues. We are unable to reconcile love with rational thinking. I enjoyed her critiques of the nuclear family and the disintegration of values--esp. love--by society's obsession with materialism, consumerism and immediate gratification. I don't know if she's bringing anything new to the table here, as most religious traditions and spiritual theorists have been saying that for centuries.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Azzooz

    I really thoroughly enjoyed the book. One of few aspects that I didn't like about the book was that it had a strong anti-atheistic vibe to it. I have no problem if she wishes to discuss spirituality and love, there's no problem at all, but when a religious, theistic faith is presented as something essential to be loving, caring, and so on, the insinuation that an atheist could not be as loving as a theist is certainly a very antagonizing sentiment that I can't even fathom. She of course, continu I really thoroughly enjoyed the book. One of few aspects that I didn't like about the book was that it had a strong anti-atheistic vibe to it. I have no problem if she wishes to discuss spirituality and love, there's no problem at all, but when a religious, theistic faith is presented as something essential to be loving, caring, and so on, the insinuation that an atheist could not be as loving as a theist is certainly a very antagonizing sentiment that I can't even fathom. She of course, continues to emphasis God as essential to love, and to create or contribute to a loving environment, which is of course, her own perception and opinion, but it adds so much antagonization and alienation that I'd imagine an atheist would not continue reading this book, which is about love, only to be told that she/he cannot contribute or love as much as an atheist. The subjectivity was too high in this aspect, even so, all this provocation goes against the love ethic. Brilliant book, nevertheless, I enjoyed reading it because I agreed with a lot of things that she had said, and I also learned much more.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Priyanka

    Reading this in pandemic and slowing down while reading has helped me to recognize the true impact of this book. This one is precious and everyone should read it. Old review in 2019: I was somebody who shied away from self help books in my entire life. I believed that fiction can teach you better things about life than somebody saying how to live life in a preachy manner. I still hold on to that view partially. But there comes a point when you realizes that there are some specific destructive patt Reading this in pandemic and slowing down while reading has helped me to recognize the true impact of this book. This one is precious and everyone should read it. Old review in 2019: I was somebody who shied away from self help books in my entire life. I believed that fiction can teach you better things about life than somebody saying how to live life in a preachy manner. I still hold on to that view partially. But there comes a point when you realizes that there are some specific destructive patterns in your life that hinders your growth, both professionally and personally, and it is important to break away from those patterns. From that perspective, 2019 has been an year of introspection for me. Since so many people had high praises for this book, i had to pick this up eventually. Bell hooks mainly explains using her own life experiences and this book certainly had its moments. But there were so many references and quotes from other books which put me off initially. Anyway one of the important self help book i ever read in my life is The Road Less Travelled by Scott Peck and Bell Hooks had so many quotes from that book. That reminded me to pick up that book soon.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ksenia Anske

    This book will help you learn how to love. Because we hardly know, hardly any of us, how to really love. Love in our culture is viewed as a romantic infatuation connected to sex. And that's not love at all. The truth is, we don't know anymore what it is. We've lost it. If we ever had it. This book is an attempt to find it again. This book will help you learn how to love. Because we hardly know, hardly any of us, how to really love. Love in our culture is viewed as a romantic infatuation connected to sex. And that's not love at all. The truth is, we don't know anymore what it is. We've lost it. If we ever had it. This book is an attempt to find it again.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    I loved most of it, with the exception of her claim that one can't truly love others if one doesn't love themselves. Other than that, it made me work on being more honest. I loved most of it, with the exception of her claim that one can't truly love others if one doesn't love themselves. Other than that, it made me work on being more honest.

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