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Rabkin, Brenda.

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, c1985. 230pp, paper, $4.95, ISBN 0-7710-7231-7. CIP

Reviewed by Joan McGrath

Volume 13 Number 4
1985 July

It happens more and more frequently, and it has been described as "the problem that has no name." Women are walking away from their marriages, leaving homes, husbands, even children, and no-one seems to know exactly why. These are not the readily understandable cases of women escaping from physical abuse or other obviously intolerable situations. These are instances of seemingly successful marriages, that for reasons invisible to outsiders have become, for at least one of the partners, unbearable.

This book, illustrated with numerous case studies, examines a failure of communication between husband and wife that appears to threaten the very fabric of the modern family. Here, various women try to explain what plainly some do not themselves quite understand, that is, what it was that finally brought their long-term relationships to an abrupt end. Some few of the couples described were able, after the breakup, to reach an understanding and to go on with their interrupted married lives. Most of the women interviewed walked away like Ibsen's Nora, slamming the door of the doll's house behind them.

The traditional roles of men and women in marriage plainly no longer satisfy all of today's demands. It would be no bad thing if all marriage partners, of however happy a union, were to read this thought-provoking document and to ponder the state of an institution under siege.

Joan McGrath, Toronto Board of Education Toronto, Ont.
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