Book Club: Myths of Love by Dr. Ruth

mythsofloveAbout Myths of Love

• Book Club: February 2017 
• Paperback:
160 pages
• Published: June 2014 by Quill Driver Books
• Source: Purchased (Scribd)

Goodreads DescriptionDr. Ruth Westheimer, America’s favorite sex therapist, analyzes ancient myth and its relevance to 21st century relationships in her new book “Myths of Love: Echoes of Greek and Roman Mythology in the Modern Romantic Imagination.” From humanity’s earliest beginnings, people have puzzled over the dual nature of love. For the ancient Greeks and Romans, love was sweet, but it was also irrational, cruel, and often deadly. Faced with the terrible paradox of love, classical civilization produced some of the most psychologically insightful myths of all time—stories of classic archetypes such as Narcissus, Helen of Troy, and Venus and Adonis.

Dr. Ruth and classical scholar Jerome E. Singerman insightfully examine the underlying psychology of the ancient myths and explain why their universal appeal has shaped the imagination of Western civilization for millennia. “Myths of Love” traces how these myths of endured in literature and art across the centuries and how they still influence how we think about sex and relationships today.

Surveying a vast range of Greek and Roman literature from Homer to Ovid, “Myths of Love” retells and reconsiders the full gamut of human sexual experience, from the tenderest expressions of married love to the savage, self-destructive passions of narcissism on jealousy. Bridging high culture and pop culture, “Myths of Love” reveals the secret connections between classic literature and today’s popular novels and films.

A stimulating blend of art, science, ancient religion, and the passions and contradictions of the human heart, “Myths of Love” is a smart and sexy revisit to the roots of Western culture’s eternal fascination with love.

My Thoughts

I’ll keep this brief, since I gave up on the book about a quarter of the way in. That’s rare for me – I usually try to struggle through.

Myths of Love is essentially a book report on Greek and Roman myths. The authors summarize the myth, and then in about 4 sentences, Dr. Ruth gives some “insight” into what it means.

I gave up because I was getting nothing out of it, and because every.single.chapter starts off with some variation of Dr. Ruth saying, “As you know from the myth…” or “You’ll remember from the myth…” No, Dr. Ruth, I don’t remember, I don’t know, I’ve never read the myths so stop assuming I have any idea what you’re talking about.

Basically, Myths of Love seems to be either written for academics, or a pet project of Dr. Ruth’s and Jerome Singerman’s. That’s fine – just not for me.

Book Club Discussion

Our February theme was Love, and we thought this would be an interesting take on it. We also chose a second book with the idea to compare the myths to how modern romances are portrayed today. It was a great idea, in theory. In practice, well…

Only one other member even tried to read the book, and she gave in before I did. As Allison put it, “I expected more from Dr. Ruth.”

1 star

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