All About Love (Paperback, 2001, Harper Paperbacks) 4 stars

All About Love: New Visions is a book by bell hooks published in 2000 that …

All about love but hard to like

2 stars

This is a book about love, which begins by promising a different perspective than the common romantic-love angle in similar books. I hoped I would love it, but perhaps it was just the wrong introduction for me to bell hooks' writing. There are moments of brilliance, such as the excellent sixth chapter: Values, which discusses richly and poetically in how social systems influence thoughts on love.

However, most of the writing failed to land. It felt like an attempt to marry academic writing with memoir, with too little rigour for the former and too little reflection for the latter. Narrow personal reflections are given as evidence for problems with love painted with broad brushstrokes, and throughout the book the perspective is very US-centric, never considering love from any non-US or non-western perspective. Repetition also mars most chapters. In the end, the book is a bit too loose and while hooks' perspective is joyful, loving and admirable, it doesn't translate here into writing that works.