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Love Shrinks: A Memoir of a Marriage Counselor's Divorce Hardcover – May 3, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Riveting…”—Maclean's (Canada)

“Blending a conversational tone with tight, fast-paced prose, the author doesn't shy away from her flaws, resulting in a book that is touching, humorous and familiar.”—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Sharyn Wolf is a New York State–licensed psychotherapist who has worked with couples for twenty years.  She has been a frequent media commentator on celebrity marriage and divorce and has written five self-help books including This Old Spouse: Tips and Tools for Keeping that Honeymoon Glow, How to Stay Lovers for Life, Guerrilla Dating Tactics, 50 Ways to Find a Lover and So You Want to Get Married.  She has been a guest on Oprah eight times.  A jazz, big band and R&B vocalist for seventeen years, she has opened for B.B. King, David Brenner and Victor Borge.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Press (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569479364
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569479360
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sharyn Wolf is my sister, but this is not why I am writing this review (and, as a writer myself, I just might be her biggest critic). Sharyn is an outstanding example of the power of hope. The words and ideas flow seamlessly from the pages as she captures the essence of her childhood, her failed marriage, and the lives of her clients, and bravely offers all of this up to us, her readers. This is a risky book, a dangerous piece of writing for a practicing therapist. Sharyn is fearless, and I have not read anything like this book. The sadness of these life rhythms is potent, but in the end I felt hopeful because this memoir is about much more than Sharyn's failed marriage. It is about how and why we (all) linger in situations that don't always progress as we want them to. We search for ways to move through them, and when they are deeply entrenched (as with Wolf), this takes time. It is about how we do this moving, how we 'do' this process, and what we learn is that we cannot escape our feelings. We can try to bury them; we can dress them in nice clothing; we can couch them (much like Sharyn did for a while), but in the end we must experience all of them.
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading Love Shrinks and closed it thinking, "What a strong, brave, powerful and beautiful book." Read it and ask yourself: If Sharyn Wolf's story were your story, would you have the guts to tell it? I'm not sure I would. So, why did she? My theory: Because she is a gifted, dedicated therapist of huge heart and courage who's willing to use herself as an object lesson to drive home the importance -- nay, the necessity -- of confronting and wrestling with our dark secrets and fears if we hope to free ourselves to deeply love and be loved. Plus, she lets us know that even people trained to be able to do this don't always succeed, hard as they try and much as they yearn to -- which is an incredibly generous gift. Thank you, Sharyn. Kudos.
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Format: Hardcover
Gutsy: You sure have to salute the courage of a woman who gained fame as a "Stay-lovers-for-life" self-help author and frequent Oprah guest confessing to having lived like a nun in a 13-year relationship with the man with whom she fell in love. After living together for seven years, the last four of which were sexless, Wolf and her boyfriend wed and then made love exactly three times in their eight-year marriage. It's about as image-shattering as Rachel Ray admitting to daily pit stops at Taco Bell.

Ineptly titled: the sub-title, "a memoir of a marriage counselor's divorce," is totally erroneous. The book contains nothing at all about the author's divorce; it is, primarily, an account of the highs and lows of a 15-year highly volatile relationship with a prominent musician, secondarily, snippets about the neuroses of several patients she treated as a psychotherapist, and, lastly, a tortured tale of sustained chldhood sexual abuse by the best friend of a father who refused Wolf's cries for help.

Incomplete: Like getting to the end of a jigsaw puzzle, only to find that a few key pieces were omitted from the box, Wolf's account is seriously marred by its failure to give us any picture of her life following divorce, other than to say on the penultimate page that she "kind of still" loves her ex, that he "looks real good" when their paths cross again 18 months after the divorce, that she "really means it" when asking him how he is, but, being "not ready for this surprise reunion", she quickly departs to meet a waiting friend -- "happier in my heartbreak than I was before." And that is all we ever learn about Wolf's new life after a 229-page saga of a mostly miserable miserable 15-year ordeal with Mr. Wrong.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an absolutely great read! Funny, thought-provoking and brave. Ms. Wolf takes us directly into her tortured marriage and exposes how loving and living with a person are not always compatible. Her angst and her compassion stay with the reader long after finishing the book, and her life lessons become textbook material for women who hide behind facades of "the perfect life". She shows how she was able to love her husband even while he infuriated her beyond belief and how his obtuseness mirrored her own in so many ways. I was alternately saddened and exhilarated by vignettes into her and her patients' histories: She admits that helping them also helped heal her and the parallels she draws between her patients' and her own life lead to her final irrevocable decision for freedom -- from her marriage and from the constraints of the past. Sharyn Wolf deserves her status as a relationship expert, if only because she's been able to peel open the layers of her pain to reveal her very soul.
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Format: Hardcover
Sharyn Wolf fell in love with a creative, accomplished, artistic man. There were places were they could play and share and feel truly alive with one another. This is one view through the prism of this relationship. Another view showed this same man to be neglectful, selfish, lousy with finances, stubborn and a poor communicator.
This memoir takes us through Sharyn's effort to reconcile the good, the bad and the ugly of her husband and herself. It is the life of her marriage told with tremendous vibrancy and humor laced with the deep pain of having to face all the sharp edges and the ultimately undeniable obstructions. This memoir is a rough, zany, bronco ride to hold on to what works and tame what cannot; familiar territory to any intimate relationship.
This memoir is so beautifully titled because it is expert in taking the reader through how despite love being at the core of this marriage, without the skills to really know how to take care of it and vision to make it work, love cannot grow; LOVE SHRINKS.

M.BYER,LCSW
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