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The Bastard on the Couch: 27 Men Try Really Hard to Explain Their Feelings About Love, Loss, Fatherhood, and Freedom Paperback – Bargain Price, May 31, 2005


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The Bastard on the Couch: 27 Men Try Really Hard to Explain Their Feelings About Love, Loss, Fatherhood, and Freedom + The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage + How to Be a Woman
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (May 31, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060565357
  • ASIN: B000GG4FN6
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #630,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Last year's much-ballyhooed The Bitch in the House, edited by Hanauer, collated essays by women on their frustration and rage. Now Jones (Hanauer's husband and a novelist and journalist) offers the male version, wherein guys discuss how they feel about their standing in today's shifting cultural landscape (that is, if they care at all). As Jones notes, "The fact that women are in charge of their own birth control and reproduction may be a gigantic cultural shift, but I've yet to hear a single man complain about it." Divided into sections on "Hunting and Gathering," "Can't Be Trusted With Simple Tasks," "Bicycles for Fish" and "All I Need," the essays vary from somewhat revelatory to unsurprising, but they are almost uniformly entertaining and well written. There are several pieces in the vein of Christopher Russell's droll snippet about being bossed around by his Type A wife. Despite her "officious way," deep down, Russell knows her fussiness is often necessary. Some are more visceral, like Robert Skates's display of his jaded humor about the pain of divorce ("Punching doors seems to help. Throwing phones through windows ain't bad either"), or Jarhead author Anthony Swofford's wry tale of beating up a guy at a bar who was molesting Swofford's passed-out girlfriend. While precious few entries stray from the rested maunderings of educated professionals-there's no real scoop on what guys on the assembly line think-the book still manages to open a window into a place many women are pretty convinced doesn't exist: the male psyche.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In Cathi Hanauer's 2002 book The Bitch in the House, 26 women wrote about their relationships with men, especially the difficulties involved in combining marriage, children, and a satisfying career. But, as Jones explains in his introduction to this sequel, that was only half the story. Here, the editor (Hanauer's husband) gives 27 men the chance to speak out on the same subject and to respond to criticisms leveled against them and their gender in the first book. (Several of the contributors are the husbands of women whose essays appeared in the earlier volume.) Taken either as a stand-alone or as a sequel to The Bitch in the House, it's a remarkably interesting, entertaining book. The contributors, most of them writers by trade, are eloquent, thoughtful, and (in many cases) disarmingly open about their dreams, ambitions, and weaknesses. This is not one of those simplistic men-have-feelings-too books. It's a deep and varied exploration of how the blurred gender roles of men and women have impacted the lives of individual men. An eye-opening account. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

I didn't even finish the book.
Brian Smith
Most of the essays provide a fascinating read, some more riveting than others.
Meryl K. Evans
This is my second purchase; the first book I gave to a female friend to read.
Mary Ann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I'm sorry for the woman below who prefers cats (I wasn't even going to write a review until I read that!)...I'll take these guys any day! They're funny, sad, infuriating, evasive, charming, smart, smart, smart, and honest--they're even honest about being dishonest!!
This book is like a primer for life with men--although not polite goody two shoes men, and who wants them anyway. These are a range of men in all their glory and warts. I read the bitch in the house, which, by the way, infuriated people all over the planet. And this is a rocking sequel...just what I was hoping for, and just as in your face. The main thing is, you can't really put it down. Some of the stories are better than others, but they're all compelling. Love these guys or hate them...they've got stories to tell, and they tell them incredibly well.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Catherine S. Vodrey on April 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
(...)It's fascinating to see the combination of love, guilt, revenge fantasies, naked honesty, moral relativism and depth of feeling that these men have to share with the reader--some of which they occasionally admit to having avoided sharing with their wives or partners.

Some of the essays are terrific. Then there are those that are eye-rollingly just, well, too much. Toure's "An Invitation to Carnal Russian Roulette" reads like something a fourteen-year old boy would write about what he figures it's like to have relations with several different women. It may be truthful--I have no reason to doubt that it is--but the prose is awfully purple.

But back to the terrific pieces. Steve Friedman writes touchingly and with a little bit of wonder at the fact that he's 47 years old, heterosexual and unmarried. He's willing to probe all the probable causes, even at the risk of being uncomfortably honest about himself. Fred Leebron's "I am Man, Hear Me Bleat" is hilarious, but not without an underlying resentment--which makes it all the more hilarious. Daniel Jones' own "Chivalry on Ice" addresses the fact of his wife's incredible strength and independence and her simultaneous inability to deal with bugs. Rob Jackson's "My Life as a Housewife" addresses the fascinating topic of the househusband, and may be the most skillful piece in terms of combining the modern man's wish to be, well, modern--with all the helpfulness and honesty and rejection of sexist role models that implies--with his feeling that maybe, just maybe, he is missing out on the standard male experience.

It's a great read, and a wide-ranging scope of topics. I look forward to Jones and Hanauer doing some kind of dual follow-up with actual couples--married or not, heterosexual or not--addressing a new range of issues in some future volume.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This isn't my usual type of book but when I read the blurb on the back cover about why men lie and aways will, I just had to sit down and read it. The facts are familiar so I won't review how this collection came into being. I will say that the authors are uniformly excellent writers, each with a distinctive voice that makes reading these bland, exciting, informative, funny, pitiful, infuriating essays worth my time. Vince Passaro, author of the essay which hooked me, sounds just like what he is, a writer for Esquire and GQ. HIs essay, as well as those by Hank Pine [My Marriage, My Affairs - His Story], Trey Ellis [Father of the Year], Robert Skates [The Hole in the Window: A View of Divorce], and Toure [An Invitation to Carnal Russian Roulette] all kept me turning pages until I had consumed the entire volume. And consume it I did, in one sitting, with a tall cold glass of something brown and sparkling, and no shoes anywhere nearby.
What didn't I like? Well, the writers are all clearly educated, from a certain mental socio-economic class which does slant these essays in a particular direction. The writing is so glittering, a kind of polish that even editing can't provide to the struggling writer. So the perspectives are tinged with wealth, education, culture, exposure, ability - money. Which is fine, but it leaves out the other male perspectives, like guys who ae as poor as hell. Although Toure describes himself as poor in his essay, he is only poor financially. I would have enjoyed reading essays by some different kinds of men. Or perhaps that is the lesson of this book, that men are men with the same issues regardless of income or social class. Cow patties!
Not bad, and certainly light enough reading for a summer afternoon.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Was given this book by 'the woman in my life,' who'd already read it the second it came out (I had to hear her commentary every night as she read it in bed) and thought I'd read an essay or two, but then I found I plowed through the whole thing in a few days. And I admit I enjoyed it, but the funny thing is how much I've thought about it afterward. Some essays, like the one "Why Men Lie (and always will)" and "My Problem with her Anger" I think of EVERY DAY! And also, sorry dear, "The Lock Box," about the hubby who never gets much because his wife is always either at work or, when at home and actually in bed, chooses reading above all else (sound familiar, anyone?).
So now that my wife has won me over with this one, she's going to try to get me to read her dog-eared, bedside copy of The Bitch in the House. We'll see. I just might!
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