Very good at times and very bad at other times.
This book contains very good ideas and convinging analyses of the current (psychological-emotional) state of relationships between women and men, but it is also tortuous and disorganized. The author's use of the Psyche and Cupid myth, apparently central to her argument, is repetitive and not very clear.
Her references to literary works of various kinds (Proust, contemporary English novels, Shakespeare) are often boring and pretentious (sounds like Dr Gilligan wants to pass as a scholar of Comparative Literature as well). Although I must stress that her reading of Anne Frank's Diary as a document of an adolescent voice reflecting on love is excellent and very original.
Gilligan provides some very interesting insights into the difficulties of contemporary heterosexual relationships, and at times her analysis is acute and deep.
She describes convincingly how boys and girls, in different times and ways, respectively in childhood and in adolescence, are forced to repress their "authentic" voice in order to live in patriarchy. Her remarks on the "mantle of masculinity" that young boys have to take on and on the capacity of women to still feel the real "vibrations" of a loving relationship, are well argued.
She also claims, as far as I can understand from her nebulous reasoning, that patriarchy - the hierarchy and power relations between sexes - "drains" pleasure, because it forces us to cover our vulnerability. To love means instead to be open and to reveal our vulnerability, blah blah blah. Thus love, she says, is the enemy of patriarchy, and has the potential to disrupt patriarchy and inequality. And so to give birth to "Pleasure".
This conclusion doesn't seem to me to be very well argued, and what I found completely missing is the (practical) way in which love, for a woman, but especially for a man, can actually result in demolishing patriarchy or in an act against it. The fact that women are often, if not always, accomplices in patriarchy precisely in love relationships is downplayed and left unaddressed.
Gilligan provides a good analysis of the problems of men-women relationships, but very poor and flimsy solutions. What irritates me is that, instead, she sounds like she is revealing some profound knowledge and wisdom. Her insistent and self-complacent use of cultural references, from ancient Greek myths and tragedies to Shakespeare and Proust, at times seems a cover up for the insubstantiality and confusion of her (non-existent?) argument....Continua