Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Unrequited: Women and Romantic Obsession


Today's post is on Unrequited: Women and Romantic Obsession by Lisa. A. Phillips. It is 304 pages long including notes and is published by Harper. The cover is white with a red heart and an arrow missing it. The intended reader is someone who is interested in relationships, gender studies, and stalking. There is some mild language, talk of sex and sexuality, and talk of violence in this book. This book is told from the first person perspective of Phillips with third person interviews. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- The summer Lisa A. Phillip turned thirty, she fell in love with someone who didn't return her feelings. She soon became obsessed. She followed him around, called him compulsively, and talked about him endlessly. One desperate morning, after she snuck into his apartment building, he picked up a baseball bat to protect himself and began to dial 911. Her unrequited love had changed her from a sane, conscientious college teacher and radio reporter into someone she barely recognized- someone who was taking her yearning much too far.
In Unrequited, Phillips explores the tremendous force of obsessive love in women's lives. She argues that it needs to be understood, respected, and channeled for personal growth- yes it also has the potential to go terribly awry. Interweaving her own story with frank interviews and in-depth research in science, psychology, cultural history, and literature, Phillips describes how romantic obsession takes root, grows, and strongly influences our thoughts and behaviors.
Going beyond images of creepy, fatally attracted psychos, male fantasies of unbridled female desire, and the platitudes of self-help books, Phillips reveals a powerful, troubling, and surprisingly common phenomenon. As she illuminates this mysterious psychological experience, placing it in a rich and nuanced context, she offers compelling insights to help any woman who has experienced unrequited obsessive love and been mystified and troubled by its grip.

Review- As someone who is interested in gender studies, I found this to be a very interesting book. Phillips does not pull any punches. She talks about how male victims of stalking are treated, how female stalkers are not helped either, and how obsession can change a person's life. At times this book is a little scary with what some of the women do. Phillips helps reinforce this by saying think if, the man who was being stalked was a woman instead, is the behavior still okay? And every time the answer was no. Phillips also does not try to make her obsession any less scary. She does not try to be the victim in her own story. Instead she owns her actions, she calls them what they were, and I think, she gives hope for other people going through the same thing. Phillips gives historical and literary perspectives about female passion. About how women have always been seen as crazy, untrustworthy, and foolish when it comes to matters of the heart. When men are the pursuers it is natural but a woman going after someone she wants is unnatural and scary. Phillips also gives information about where to get help if you are in this situation both for men and women.

I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I was given this by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest book review.