Review of Relationships by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott
A report on the book Relationships: How to Make Bad Relationships Better and Good Relationships Great by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott would be absolutely remiss if it didn’t start off with this quote from page 11, the first page of the book’s text: “Recently a pioneering band of researchers studied the age-old mystery of what makes people happy…the clear winner is relationships. Close ones” (1998). This is absolutely the thesis of the book – the main point that it wants readers to understand.
If the theme is that people need close relationships, then the underlying one is that of a lifelong endeavor. The way in which persons relate to each other, and expect love to come back to them is shaped by early experiences. Somehow we are either carved out to accept, or reject close relationships. These expectations depend almost on how our family life looks back in our childhood, according to the book. As the Parrotts put it, family relationships have a great impact on our future relationships, both positive and negative (p.44).
A vital aspect of Relationships is how the readership is drawn into its text. The tool that is utilized sharply is the vignette. Each chapter introduces its topic by beginning with a story of someone, either famous or common, experiencing something and/or commenting on this one thing. Instantly, the readers feel that they’ve been there at that point in relationships before, and a trust unfolds and develops between book and reader. This is essential when trying to give advice, as on the part of the authors, or receive advice, as on the part of the readers. This makes for a very successful book, and in this way Relationships excels.
In the end, the book explains what it has been about. It speaks of the real relationships and fellowships that we have craved since childhood, and how to experience satisfaction in this area. Expectations based on facts are to be discarded, and expectations based on emotions and ‘closeness’ are to be embraced. The book ends on a hopeful note, and delivers a powerful finish in keeping with its theme.
Parrott, Dr. Les, & Parrott, Dr. Leslie. (1998). Relationships: How to Make Bad Relationships
Better and Good Relationships Great. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.