Reviewed by L. Jay Houston
TAGS: Maurice A. Brown, Lulu Publishing, relationships
Upon reading the preface of Maurice A. Brown’s book Male Insight: Bridging the Gap, one might think, Oh great, another self-help book for women about men that makes the reader feel good about being single, especially since the goal of the book is to give females insight into males, from a male viewpoint. It is easy to make a snap judgment that this book’s purpose was to pacify the reader by absolving her of dating transgression, and to have a resultant low expectation. This perspective is unwarranted.
Brown’s method is to answer questions about male behavior in Male Insight by challenging the reader, who is presumably female. He asks the reader to examine herself in order to ensure that her dating goals and expectations are realistic. This is an unconventional yet necessary method to provide insight for the reader that sounds simple, but needs to be stated in order for the reader to appreciate the rest of the book.
While Brown identifies several typical male mannerisms and behavior patterns in an effort to educate females, he ends up typecasting males as a whole in order to increase familiarity of the gender to the reader. This makes men one-dimensional in order to create a comfort level for the reader, yet compromises the complexity that is present in the interchange between men and women who are trying to get to know each other. More importantly, it makes the men in his book appear shallow, superficial and simple-minded, which is not representative of the entire male gender. Although Brown’s purpose in doing so is understood, the end result is clichéd and directly plays to preconceived notions and stereotypes. However, the male perspective Brown advances in order to make points adds value and balance to the pigeonholed labels. The text, as a whole, is easy to read and is presented in a balanced, mature manne. The content--ranging from provocative statements and practical advice, to pacifying platitudes--at times may strike emotional chords for some readers.
Overall, Male Insight: Bridging the Gap is a good book. It is a quick read and has excellent advice that is worthy enough to give a friend who is looking to understand dating men. While the advice is sound, the book itself needs minor editorial refinement, as there is a patch where awkward/incorrect word choices undermines its readability, and takes away from an otherwise good book. In the end, Brown meets the purpose of giving insight, albeit not in as straightforward a fashion as would be expected. Although the book is an enjoyable read, it didn’t really answer questions about males as much as it gave good advice to a person looking for a male perspective from a male. Of the various self-help relationship books on the market, Male Insight: Bridging the Gap is worth the investment.
L. Jay Houston, PhD writes on a broad range of subjects, including government programs, public policy, and contemporary social issues. He is an avid reader, enjoying nonfiction books as well as books on the subject of African American issues, and science fiction. This native of Brooklyn, NY has lived in the Washington, DC area for over twenty years. He received his Master’s degree from the University of the District of Columbia and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Brooklyn College. In his spare time, he also enjoys volunteering.