However, I found this book a great disappointment. It is nothing like as funny as Fascinating Womanhood. Dr. Schlessinger doesn't suggest that women should try to be both Agnes and Dora, she doesn't recommend cooing like a cat or purring like a pigeon, and there is absolutely no mention of snakes in her book (from Fascinating Womanhood I had gained the impression that the USA is a country where the entire populace spend much of their time grappling with snakes).
Dr Laura's basic premise is that men are simple creatures who only want to be respected, admired and fed in order to be happy. Men are hopelessly vulnerable and putty in the hands of their more complex wives. Her book is full of quotes from people who have rung her radio show, which I gather is very popular in the USA, and from these calls she has compiled a catalogue of brutally oppressed men and cruel, selfish women who walk all over their husbands.
Now, obviously these people are real because they are transcripts of actual telephone calls. Such people do exist. However, I have not personally found that all men are helpless, vulnerable creatures who are entirely at the mercy of their wives. Dr Laura admonishes women not to nag for instance, and not to try and change their husbands, but what if your husband is the one who does the nagging and is constantly criticising you, the wife? She doesn't mention that, yet it's a situation I have come across several times.
She differs from Mrs Andelin in many points. She does not say that women shouldn't work outside the home for instance, and she doesn't suggest that it is necessary for a woman to behave like an imbecile. She does, like Mrs Andelin, recommend that a woman put her husband first in her life, but her advice is on the whole much more rational than Mrs Andelin's. I was a bit disconcerted by the chapter on sex (unlike Mrs Andelin, she believes firmly that a woman should always gratify a man's sexual desires), because she also recommends taking the aggressive role in sex some of the time, she quotes one man who said he liked the idea of a woman chasing her man around the house.
I decided that this was beyond me—I am naturally very passive sexually—and although I generally respond to my husband's advances with enthusiasm, I really cannot see myself chasing him around the house. However, I do think it would have been useful if I could have read this chapter when I was much younger and going through a period of not wanting sex with my husband very much. It would have been helpful to me then.
Dr Laura's style is somewhat brutal, but I can see that, in the rather extreme cases of callous behaviour by wives that she quotes, her methods are probably effective. There is one point in the book where she tells a man off for having done something insensitive, which cheered me up somewhat, evidently she doesn't believe that everything is always the woman's fault. Much of her advice is sensible, if somewhat harshly presented.
To sum up, I would say that if you want advice on how to make your husband happier, and don't mind being told that you have the total power to make or break your husband, and that responsibility for making a marriage happy rests entirely with you, this book is quite a useful one. However, for sheer entertainment value I recommend Fascinating Womanhood.