African American Author's Expo and Multi-Cultural Book Fair

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Tamara Neal
  • Female
  • Gwynn Oak, MD
  • United States
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A heartfelt, personal look at the various abusive relationships women can find themselves in.

Neal intends to prevent other women from facing the sort of relationship heartbreak she has not only seen in many friends and acquaintances, but also experienced herself. The result is a Top 10 list of male types to avoid. While the guide is addressed to heterosexual women, the 10 types will be bad news in any relationship. Each of the ten chapters focuses on a different painful or dangerous situation, but as Neal notes, any one person can possess any combination of the traits. The book calls out obvious red-flag behaviors such as addiction, abuse and adultery, but it also highlights lesser-known signs of relationship trouble, including indications that a potential partner is only interested in a one-night stand or that a partner hasn’t gotten over his previous relationship and is thus in no position to make the new one work. Throughout the book, Neal reminds the reader that there’s only one person she can and should change: herself. The energy a woman spends chasing one of these bad-news partners is energy that, Neal says, could be spent learning to improve and care for herself, which would help in building the internal strength needed to avoid any partner who doesn’t trust or care for her. Unlike some guides to abusive relationships, Neal’s book skips the traditional language of psychology; there’s no discussion of the “cycle of abuse” or a 12-step recovery. Rather, Neal takes a personal approach, encouraging women to recognize and reclaim what they might already know: They’ll only find the self-confidence they seek within themselves. Since the style is so personal, the text can at times be difficult to follow; it reads like a coffee chat with close friends, with sudden shifts in topic or tactic that can cause a moment’s confusion. Nevertheless, the message is clear: You’re worth more than the 10 types of people on this list, if you let yourself be.

An affirming guide to dangerous relationships that skips the jargon in favor of a personal, direct message.

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