BOOK REVIEW: "Polyamory The New Love Without Limits: Secrets of Sustainable Intimate Relationships", by Dr. Deborah M. Anapol, Published by IntiNet Resource Center, (c) 1997, ISBN 1-880789-08-6, 180 pages, $16.00. There were two earlier versions of this book, I believe that this one is the most recent version.
This is a solid introduction to Polyamory. The book is not a fun read, but there is a lot of good information in quite a small space.
The author comes from an academic background and that comes thru in her writing. Even when she is discussing her own story, the tone is clinical and detached. I think that this can be a bonus in some cases. If a loved one is hurting because a significant other is talking poly, a detached point of view may help them think rationally about it. However, it makes the book less fun to read than some of the other books I have reviewed.
Much of the contents of the book are similar to the second half of The Ethical Slut. This means that this book was less interesting to me personally. The first time you see something it is new and exciting. The second time it is old hat. I mention this because I had a hard time getting enthusiastic about this book, but I think, in part, it is not the fault of this work.
A section of the book I quite liked was a chapter asking if poly is for you. Dr. Anapol is up front about the sorts of behaviors make poly hard (and act as warning signs if you are trying poly). The next chapter talks about 8 things to make being poly easier.
In several points in the book, Dr. Anapol emphasizes that spirituality will help in your personal growth needed to make poly work. As not a very spiritual person, these grated a bit. However, they were not long and the rest of the book stands on its own without them.
A reoccurring theme in the book is that you have to be a mature, complete human being. You have to get your act together, in order for poly to work. The discussion of jealousy is much like that in The Ethical Slut, but more emphasis was placed on it being a pointer for the need for personal growth.
The chapter on if you are polyamorous and coming out of the closet was fairly new to me. She suggests that you be open but if you live in a very intolerant section of the country (USA) you may wish to move. She discusses the advantages that would occur if the poly community was more visible.
The chapter on building a poly family was interesting. Unlike Ethical Slut, where the two authors had successfully been enjoying their warm poly tribes for some time, the author here has struggled to build the loving family she is searching for. It is the most human part of the book and reminds us that what we are trying to do is not easy.
The end of the book includes chapter notes, references, books and movies that have poly in fact in fiction, and a directory (now dated) of poly organizations.
In summary I admire this book but had a hard time liking it. It makes a strong contender as a rational, calm introduction to polyamory.
Odd story: we searched for this book from the library, and they didn't have a copy. We requested the library buy it, and they refused saying it was an old book and they saved their budget for new releases. Then they changed their minds because there are few books on polyamory and it was such a popular subject! :-)
Warm regards, Rick.