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All About Love: A Quiet Revolution by Bell Hooks

Bell Hooks; readers who actively engage with feminist movement of the West will definitely know this name, readers who are new to her world- a plethora of perspective and insight awaits you.

She has been known for her exemplary books on feminist theories such as Feminism is for everybody and Ain’t I a Woman.

In her latest book Hooks has taken up arguably the most discussed word and emotion of this world- Love. In the beginning of this book she calls for a change. Hooks wants us to rethink the idea, concept, and the dominant narrative of Love.

“To truly love we must learn to mix various ingredients – care, affection, recognition, respect, commitment, and trust, as well as honest and open communication.”

Writing about love as a verb instead of noun, Hooks urges that we will all be better off if we try to understand love as an ongoing action rather than just an emotion.

She deals with the ideas of love in family, friendships, relationships, and spiritual practices. Questioning the dominant idea of love, Hooks calls attention to the way dominant narratives of love have all been written by men. She wants more women and other feminine individuals to write about love. However, at this point I wished she had read Amrita Pritam to get a flavour of what a fierce writer of love & affection a woman has dared to be. Hooks refers to Rumi many a times in her book, explaining how Rumi understood love’s nature of uplifting & freeing us, instead of binding us down.

She also explains a deep-rooted relationship between self-love/self-worth and experiencing true love. This is an idea which is trending on social media these days, but no one tells you why self-love is important. Hooks does. She says:

“But many of us seek community solely to escape the fear of being alone. Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.”

To read this book is a treat. It is a journey most of us around the world need to take. Half of the broken hearts in this world would feel better if they could take away some ideas from this book.

Recalling her childhood days and her yearning for love in early adulthood, Hooks writes in a globally relatable language. Many of us have felt that distance from our families when we were misunderstood and could never experience love in its entirety again.

“To love well is the task in all meaningful relationships, not just romantic bonds.”

I wish Hooks had explained few ideas better. Her critique of men and their inability to show emotions borders on gross generalisation. It also remains unexplained how she concludes that all men lie in relationships and that is how they break away from loyalty.

As they say, no idea exists in a void. Hooks writes about love from a clearly visible standpoint of a woman who has struggled against patriarchy and racism all her life. This makes her writing ideologically aggressive at times and we readers hope she will be able to tell us how she concluded certain things about love without referring to or understanding love that exists out of America.

Nevertheless, this book is a definite read for those who are not scared of the word “Love”. Hooks has begun a quiet revolution in the world of romanticism. She forces you to rethink the fundamentals of love, and I am grateful. People who want to understand this word and its deep philosophical branches, please go ahead and start reading.

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