Women Who Love Too Much
Women Who Love Too Much
Reviewed ca. 1987.
This book is either largely accurate and a bit uninteresting,
or it makes female-chauvinistic claims which are perhaps
interesting, but almost certainly false.
If, on the one hand, the book is simply claiming that
emotionally susceptible females are regularly seduced and
terrorized by alcoholic mates who are "interesting" in the same
ways their alcoholic fathers were, then it is on very safe
ground, and important to the extent that our society is plagued
If, instead, it is claiming that women are as a class
terrorized by highly motivated and hyper-achieving males who
may be compared with no loss of accuracy to drunks then we
are dealing with a wild-eyed and stupid feminist in the
person of Ms. Norwood who needs to have her knuckles rapped.
Since all the men described by this woman happen to be drunks
and drug-addicted derelicts, and since the book never claims to
be about drug-addicted men only but men in general, it is easy
to get the impression that there are no men whose "addictions"
do not fit the unflattering descriptions provided.
In fact, there are men who are addicted to activities and
influences far more exotic and dangerous than mere alcohol, and
whose sway over female fellow-travelers is far more
compelling, and in most cases more destructive, than that
administered by even the most avid abusers of substances like
alcohol, cocaine, and crack.
What is our opinion of these men the same as our opinion of
drunks, heroin addicts, and the abusers of children?
Careful! These men are no scum. We are talking about the great
men of any age. These are your Saints, your creative geniuses, your leaders,
your demi-gods those addicted to things like wisdom, power,
dominion, a certain perception of the common weal, and abstract
They are the responsible creatures of the planet, creating
meanings in the middle of the night, while others sleep. They
have visible auras, these addicts.
Many of these creatures are male, to be sure, and most of them
are in fact in pain. The pain they report is the intractable
pain which accompanies creation ex nihilo gut-choice action
taken in the face of an insufficiency of conditions, and
responsibilities which others find it far more convenient to
Some of these great men (and women) may be addicted to that
pain, and it's good thing for the rest of the tribe that they
are. Someone apparently has to do that work, and it could have
been us, (you and/or me), instead.
But not all these courageous men (or women) require nursing and
support from co-addictive spouses, as Ms. Norwood suggests.
Most would positively abhor such meddling, and resent the
The last thing such a person needs is to be "changed" by a
well-meaning Mary Magdalene pulling at the hem of his robe,
preaching, say, the values of home and hearth. That would not
be tolerated, as cruel as this might later appear to the woman,
and to her counselors.
Nor is fair to assimilate the remainder of our opinions of
hyper-achievers who happen to be male to those we have formed
about drunks and derelicts. It is simply not helpful to
conflate these two classes of "addicts," and treat them as one.
That Ms. Norwood is willing to do so smacks both of feminist
axe-grinding, and of sour grapes to the extent that some great
persons happen not to be female. She comes very close to saying
that all interesting men are drunks.
What she really means to say, I think, is that some interesting
men are drunks. This may be nothing more than an intellectual sloppiness,
or a pandering to the paperback audience.
It would have to be. The conceit resident in the assumption that
all hyper-achieving males are no better than common alcoholics,
in that they must somehow solicit and require co-addictive support from
emotionally deficient females, is fabulous, and is itself a
viable candidate for exorcism through the very sort of
professional counseling Ms. Norwood offers to ladies who have
somehow lost their cool.