The Golden Condom
When it comes to famed psychotherapist Dr. Jeanne Safer's newest book, "The Golden Condom," there's no one size to fit all. The book, aptly subtitled "And Other Essays on Love Lost and Found," explores the pitfalls and trials of different types of love, dealing in turn with the love between romantic partners, friends, and even mentors and protégés. Safer's essays tie her decades of professional experience and training with her personal insights and witticisms, making "The Golden Condom" a book that, though segmented and compartmentalized, has something for everyone.
The essays in "The Golden Condom" are divided into three categories: hopeless, difficult, and fulfilled love. While Safer bridges the essays, they function well as stand-alone chapters and can be read individually. This is the book's strongest feature - though the work can be consumed as a whole, readers should feel encouraged to choose selected essays based on personal experience and interest. The types of love presented in "The Golden Condom" are so varied that readers are unlikely to connect with each and every essay; Safer's careful explanations of psychological terms and concepts are thorough and anticipate that readers may choose to move through the book in pieces rather than as a cohesive whole.
Each essay is built around two to three personal experiences with love, each of which Safer then deconstructs and explains. The book's friendly, colloquial tone makes the analyses easy to understand, though at times these segments drag as Safer explains various psychological theories and concepts. Despite this, the stories presented in each essay resonate, and "The Golden Condom" picks up steam in its second and third parts as the book explores stories of hope and success that grew out of pain and struggle. Safer's writing glows in these softer moments, and as she details her own success in love in the final pages the book feels less like pages written by a famed psychotherapist and more like the gentle, caring advice of a wise friend. In its final explorations of fulfilled love, "The Golden Condom" proves that it is not merely gilded - it's the real deal.
"The Golden Condom"
Jeanne Safer, Ph.D.