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Mars and Venus - Starting Over.Review - Mars and Venus - Starting Over.
A Practical Guide for Finding Love Again After a Painful Breakup, Divorce, Or the Loss of a Loved One
by John Gray
Harper Mass Market Paperbacks, 1999
Review by JMG
Oct 20th 1999 (Volume 3, Issue 42)

Usually, I'm not a big John Gray fan. I don't own any of his other books, but have read some of his first Mars and Venus book in a bookstore. It was interesting, to some degree, but I thought that many times he oversimplified the differences between men and women. But not so with this book. This book was just what the doctor ordered in terms of providing some new ways of looking at feelings, looking at pain. And concrete ways for dealing with grief.

Now, once you get beyond the corny language and Gray's tendency to warm over things a little too easily, there's some good stuff in here. My favorite chapter is Chapter 4, Grieving the Loss of Love. The four healing emotions Gray identifies are:

  • anger
  • sadness
  • fear
  • sorrow

This chapter, which describes these four emotions and examples of each in-depth, and the next chapter, Getting Unstuck, help explain how so many times we get stuck in one of these emotions and never deal with the other three. I'm not sure I agree that all four do need to be dealt with equally, but he makes the argument they do. You'll have to decide for yourself.

This book taught me things I already knew, but often forget. Especially when we're hurting, we tend to forget things that are important to healing. We focus too greatly on the pain, on the negative, on the end. We turn it over and over in our minds. Gray's book helped me put things back into perspective and led me a step further... It gave me some things to think about and explore about how past relationships and experiences directly relate to current ones. Patterns in relationships are important to note, because if you recognize the pattern which may be contributing to the dysfunction, you can change it. But if you never look, you'll never know.


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