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Gaggle: How the Guys You Know Will Help You Find the Love You Want    by Jessica Massa order for
by Jessica Massa
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Carrol Wolverton

There's a Minefield of Men Out There - You Need Your Gaggle ...

I read this edgy take on modern day relationships from the perspective of ten years as a single parent counselor in two states. As the review title notes, guy dealings is one tough subject. The authors recommend collecting a gaggle of men to use as springboards to meet The One and to air issues and problems. You serve the same purpose in reverse. I will add to this that your gaggle can also be a great source of information. When was he going to tell you about his three kids? Someone in your gaggle group knew.

While being respectful of religious beliefs and values, the authors see nothing wrong with Mr. Hot Sex, Mr. Unavailable, and Mr. Ex-Boyfriend who's still around (Gasp). They freely acknowledge what works for you may not work for others. They recommend a clear understanding of guy relationships, however, and encourage platonic male friends and even sex.

In my former work life, I found particularly the work marriage (career-booster-guy) as a useful gaggle member. Should the work marriage take a crossover turn, absent yourself as unavailable. Amazingly, tomorrow it never happened.

Dealing with male relationships is a tough topic and one rarely dealt with honestly. Certainly, the movies and HLM aren't real world. One of my single parent students summed up the real world nicely: 'They lie so good,' she said. They also harbor venereal disease, backgrounds you want no part of, and an online persona that bears no relation to reality. Gee, even women lie, too.

My advice is to take care of mind, body, and soul. If you are working at what you love or on what you want to be, you're headed in the right direction. Figure out a way to do it without burying yourself in massive debt and dependence on male support. If you have an issue, such as a mental disorder (depression, bi-polar, etc.), treat it. Take the danged meds. Be sure The One knows you have a condition. He may be a recovering from something himself.

If you are not both totally committed to the relationship, let it go. Tough as it may be, let it go. Nothing is worse than a one-sided love affair. Solve the religion issue early on. You will not change later; neither will he. Any abuse will only get worse guaranteed. If whatever you are doing is not working, change things one at a time. Enroll in a new program, try a new site, join a new group, save some whales, do whatever allows you to meet new guy people who like what you like. Be friendly and outgoing, but oh, so careful.

I found this book bringing back memories of wrongs committed, feelings hurt, and situations badly handled. If digesting this book saves you future relationship errors, ignore the gratuitous profanity, and consciously work on your gaggle. It's well worth the effort.

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