Picks and Pans Review: Letters from Women Who Love Too Much

updated 02/15/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/15/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Robin Norwood

What makes this sobering, thoughtful book so valuable is that Norwood seems to know the value of asking the right questions, even if she doesn't pretend to have all the answers. A sequel to her 1986 book, Women Who Love Too Much, it includes a sampling of the thousands of letters she received in response to that best-seller about women with self-destructive addictions to men. There is a touch of Dear Abby or Ann Landers to such a collection of letters, of course, but Norwood isn't out to be cute or encyclopedic—or even just to take advantage of an easy-money follow-up. Norwood, a California therapist, notes in her introduction that the book "is not intended to be a general treatise on love, on how to find the right man or on how to make a relationship work." Instead she offers suggestions, comments and sometimes a refreshing confession that she doesn't know what to say. These are, after all, women whose romantic obsessions have involved them with physical or psychological abuse, drug use and counterproductive therapy. One woman writes that she is suicidal and has been in therapy since she was 9: "I'm 29, bulimic, anorexic, addict, alcoholic—I'm not doing very well." Norwood writes of not knowing how to answer the woman, acknowledging that treatment in addiction is often complicated because "many of us in the helping professions wouldn't be in the business at all if we didn't have a strong need to rescue others or control them or both." Eureka! A self-help book with a sense of perspective. (Pocket, $18.95)

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