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Book Review: What is Love? Perspectives on Love by Fadi Hattendorf

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Since the beginning of time people have been trying to figure out love. As we all know, the word “love” is used a great deal in the English language. From loving your significant other, to your parents, to your dog, to a certain flavor of chocolate, it is one of the most over-used adjectives we have.

In What is Love? Perspectives on Love, Fadi Hattendorf takes the time to break down the meaning of the word love, by providing various “learning experiences” that cover all the bases when it comes to marriage, sex, divorce, parenting, and break-ups – issues that each one of us have had to face along the way.

The first point that is made is one we should all know by now. Yes, there is always that feeling of “Once Upon a Time” when you speak about how your life will end up. Whether this comes from the movies or the fairy tales that we read from a young age, that picture of the dashing prince on the white horse is one that is embedded on the brain… until we realize that the glass slipper really didn’t fit.

One story speaks about mistrust, about one woman who is told by many of her friends that her husband is cheating on her, yet she believes only his words. Not only does she find out that her friends were right, but the person her husband was cheating with was one of her friends.

A different perspective comes from a story in which someone is extremely mistrustful of their partner – for more than 15 years – yet still stays with him. This one delves into how a manipulative being can, with lies and the words, “I Love You,” control and hold onto the relationship. The reasoning of staying together for the kids so that they can have a two-parent family, is also another issue explored. But to stay with someone who is harming you and making you feel bad all of the time, certainly rubs off on the children – causing you to rethink whether or not your decision to stay was the correct one.

Chapter after chapter, the author delves into the idea of love being used only to receive sex, as well as only loving someone who you are sexually attracted to, then finding later on that there is no substance to keep the relationship going. She does an excellent job of researching the pain and trauma that can come from marrying into different cultures as well as different religious backgrounds, causing true strife in the marriage.

Relationships at work, the desperation that one feels to not be alone so they settle on anyone just as long as they can say they are married, all of these subjects are brought up.

Manners is a topic of conversation that will really hit home, particularly since we are living in a world that seems to no longer respect – respect! Honesty, trustworthiness, all of this falls apart in the author’s studies of what a relationship and love is really all about.

But the solid point that most readers will find in this book is the fact that you are speaking about individuals. Each case scenario is unique, because individuals come from various backgrounds – great, loving households to abusive households – and every human being has their own needs and beliefs. There is a very good chapter that speaks about one day having to do background checks before a relationship begins, and that would officially end all hope of having that fairy tale people still dream about.

Quill Says: Without diatribes, this is a good look at a truly indefinable word.

(Reviewed by Amy Lignor for Feathered Quill Book Reviews)

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