Booklist Review

Booklist February 15th, 2016

Apr 2016. 288 p. Picador, hardcover, $26. (9781250055750). Picador, e-book, (9781250055767). 152.4.

Drawing on her own experiences as well as those of patients and friends, Safer meditates on love’s most volatile and traumatic forms: unrequited love, difficult love, betrayal, bad friendships, the intimate relationships between mentors and protégés. As a therapist, she takes a somewhat clinical approach, introducing psychology terms, when appropriate (“narcissistic injury,” “ego strength,” “abreaction”), which she expands upon in well-placed footnotes, explaining a term’s origins or offering suggestions for further reading. Beyond the clinical, though, the text also has a philosophical and literary aspect, weaving in quotes from Samuel Johnson and Samuel Beckett, for example, as well as offering personal reflections drawn from a journal written by the author’s hopelessly-, destructively-in-love, 19-year-old self. The timelessness of the topic as well as its confessional, educational content will give The Golden Condom wide appeal—anyone will be able to find themselves reflected in one story or another, whether they are in love, or longing, or looking to understand this mystifying, powerful, innately human experience.

— Sarah Grant

Read the review on Booklist Online