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I’m OK – You’re OK, Thomas A. Harris, M.D., Avon, 1973 (c1969), ISBN 0-380-00772-X, $5.99

In answer to the usual question, “Yes, I do read all of these books– every page.” I admit that sometimes I want to do like the friar inĀ Monty Python and the Holy Grail and “skip a bit, brother,” but I always persevere…that is, with the books you see talked about in these pages. For every one that gets covered here, there’s usually another that I started and I haven’t managed to finish yet. I have a friend in Los Angeles who used what he called the “10% Rule,” which somehow how to do with making it 10% of the page count of the book. Personally, if I’m not enjoying a book enough to continue, I just put it aside. Sometimes I restart them; more often than not, they languish.

This self-help book by Harris was a recommendation from the Lutheran minister who married Jill and I. It was a requirement of his that we do some pre-marital counseling with him before he would conduct the ceremony, and though neither of us felt it necessary, we humored him in this request. As it turned out, we enjoyed the experience, because it helped us talk about some things that we had conveniently swept under the rug for the many years we had spent together. We also enjoyed the little self-assessment test that he made us take– we maxed out the “Equality” section, an indication of how much we view each other as full partners in our relationship.

I wish I could say the same thing about I’m OK – You’re OK, but it just wasn’t as much fun or as enlightening as even that simple test. I felt that the book was extremely dated, and, given my feeling of equality as an important issue, quite sexist in its own way. I remember having some difficulties with another self-help book of this same period years ago (I believe it was Gail Sheehey’s Passages), where the examples were so flamingly early seventies that to read them was like seeing people wearing gold chains and bell-bottom trousers. And throughout the book, I found myself wanting to be reading Games People Play, which is referenced many times within this book, and sounded like a much more interesting treatise.

[Finished January 1996]


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