Hey friends. How’s it going? I was MIA the entire week because it was such a draining week (mentally and physically) but I survived it and I’m back here again. So yay me?! I finished All about love by Bell Hooks today and of course, I had to let you all know my thoughts.
“The word ‘LOVE’ is most often defined as a noun, yet… we would all love better if we used it as a verb,” writes Bell Hooks as she comes out fighting and on fire in All About Love. Here, at her most provocative and intensely personal, the renowned scholar, cultural critic, and feminist skewers our view of love as romance. In its place she offers a proactive new ethic for a people and a society bereft with lovelessness.”
“As Bell Hooks uses her incisive mind and razor-sharp pen to explore the question “what is love?” Her answers strike at both the mind and heart. In thirteen concise chapters, Hooks examines her own search for emotional connection and society’s failure to provide a model for learning to love. Razing the cultural paradigm that the ideal love is infused with sex and desire, she provides a new path to love that is sacred, redemptive and healing for individuals and for a nation.”
Version I read
I read the paperback and it was gifted to me by my good friend. I hold it dear to my heart and it’s a gift I’ll likely not forget soon.
Whew! Where do I start from? For someone who talks a lot about not liking nonfiction books, I seem to be getting into them lately. This book is everything I wanted it to be. It surpassed my expectations because I really thought it was just a book mostly about romantic relationships. When my dad saw this book, he assumed it was about relationships too but Bell Hooks said, nope we are diving deeper. She explored love in the nuclear family, love in romantic relationships, love in death, self love, love in the spiritual context and I felt every bit of it.
This book is so profound. You can actually pick a chapter of this book and have a full conversation about it. For something we talk about so much, I feel like we struggle so much with understanding what love actually is and how to love.
The introduction of this book expresses how cynical we have become when it comes to love and it was at this point I knew the dragging was inevitable.
Chapters that stuck with me
I think the chapter that stuck with me the most was Mutuality: the heart of love. I had a conversation with a friend like a week or two before I read this book and I talked about how even the most “liberal” men subtly uphold the patriarchy in their relationships/homes. This chapter focuses of the dynamics in relationships. Women are encouraged by patriarchal thinking to believe we are more desperate for love and sadly this is used to our disadvantage.
“To know love we must surrender our attachment to sexist thinking in whatever form it takes in our lives.” To practice the art of loving we have first to choose love – admit to ourselves that we want to know love and be loving even if we do not know what that means. The deeply cynical, who have lost all belief in loves power have to step blindly out on faith.”
On childhood love lessons, Bell emphasizes her point that punishment is not the only way to teach discipline and while the will to love is present in very young children, they still need guidance in the ways of love. I like how she made children individuals because we often tend to forget this and think they are simply extensions of ourselves.
On commitment: let love be love in me, she expresses the importance of self love and confronting shaky foundations of low self esteem. “If we succeed without confronting and changing shaky foundations of low self esteem rooted in contempt and hatred, we will falter along the way.”
More things I loved about All About Love
It challenged my views on love and it was interesting to see me honestly examining myself. Bell Hooks gave us an insightful book with so much to learn from. It’s a book I think everyone should read because anyone can take something out of it.
“To know love we have to tell the truth to ourselves and to others.”
I love that she referenced quite a few books about love and life generally and was not trying to sell us the “I know all about love or this is how to love” crap.
With these few words of mine, I hope I’ve been able to make it very clear that this is a 5 STAR read.
I have to stop here but it is evident how much I enjoyed reading this book. It is amazing and well written. Go buy this book. Go read this book. You’re welcome! I shared some quotes from this book two weeks ago. You should check it out.