A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson
Despite the national clamor over rising illiteracy and the allegedly hypnotic allure of the idiot box, Americans read more today than at any other point in our history. The problem is not with our failure to read; the problem may be with what we do read. Consider A Return to Love, the best-selling book in America these past months. It is another in the seemingly endless series of tomes that promise to change your life—not quite in the way that reading the Bible, or Middlemarch, might do, but rather by telling you explicitly what is wrong with you and giving advice on how to fix it.
The audience for such books ranges from recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, together with their families and other “co-dependents,” to the lonely, the fat, the sick in body and the sick at heart. Far and away the largest proportion of readers also happens to be female, and it is they in particular who account for the success of books like Smart Women, Foolish Choices; Women Who Love Too Much; The T-Factor Diet; and Toxic Parents. The stuff of such books is food, fitness, beauty, career, and coping with men, men, men—men who cannot love, men who suffer from “commitmentphobia,” men plagued by every known spiritual disease but whose troth you can nevertheless plight, if you dare, by following the counsel of How to Marry the Man of Your Choice.
About the Author
John Podhoretz is editor of COMMENTARY.