Picks and Pans Review: The Couple's Comfort Book

updated 02/21/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/21/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Jennifer Louden

Unsophisticated going on childish, this self-help volume aimed at "renewing passion, pleasure and commitment" is by the author of The Woman's Comfort Book. Louden's prejudice shows in such sexist lapses as perpetuating the myth that "using words to communicate feelings is something most women do better than most men." (Byron, Keats and Browning, among others, might have taken exception.)

It's also hard to take seriously the advice of someone who urges couples to improve their sex lives by starting the day "whispering in his or her ear, 'I want to make love to you tonight like lions mating on the veld.' " (Now would that be with or without the swarms of flies, mangy skin and strands of raw meat between the teeth?)

Louden's most interesting prescriptions come in a chapter on constructive arguing, but even then she fabricates simplistic scenarios, in which people say things like, "I hear you saying you feel pressured and pushed and you don't want to do this alone."

Throughout, Louden's language is naive: "My sweetie will always do things more methodically and slowly than I do." She also spouts such Fulghumistic truisms as "Much of our lives is spent in daily routine." And that's beyond such clunky writing as "Read on for needy enlightenment."

There is also this advice for what to do when the spaghetti pot is boiling over: "Look in each other's eyes, take a deep breath and repeat silently or aloud, 'breathing in, we are connected. Breathing out, we are peaceful.'' Either way, we are scalded. (HarperCollins, $14)

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