Not Quite Paradise: Making Marriage Work by Bonnie Maslin Ph.D. and Yehuda Nir, M.D.: Dolphin Book, Doubleday & Co. $15.95.
Fair warning: This save-your-marriage manual addresses itself exclusively to the woman in a troubled relationship. And though it offers some shrewd insights into the reasons modern marriages tend to flounder rather than float, it’s the “little woman,” who must be willing to make concessions, turn the other cheek, in short, give more than she’ll ever receive.
Bonnie Maslin, a psychotherapist who’s made the media rounds, and her husband, Yehuda Nir, a psychiatrist trained at the University of Jerusalem, pool their knowledge by drawing on case studies that fairly shriek with authenticity. Thus, we’re invited into the intimate lives of eight couples, exemplifying all the woes that marital flesh is heir to. We meet the Bickersons, the Naggers and the Whiners, accusing each other of jealousy, competition, neglect, domination, mother-in-law favoritism and so forth. Though the authors provide diagrams to teach the “new language of love,” the responsibility falls squarely on the female. Doesn’t it take two to tango as well as tangle?