Simcha Fisher recently published the book The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning. I've been hearing nothing but good things about this book for a while so I was interested in reading it. It promised a real life view of natural family planning that takes off those rose colored glasses so often worn by nfp promoters. And yet, I must say, I felt the book feel flat on it's proverbial face.
The first sign to me that things were not quite as they seemed with this book was the three pages of glowing reviews immediately in the beginning of the book. These reviews were all written by the same group of Catholic Mommy Bloggers who all tend to review each other's work and always write about the same things each of the other bloggers are writing about. It's as if they are all sitting around in a big circle and patting each other on the back all the time, telling each other how wonderful they are all the time. I've noticed that none of these ladies ever have anything negative or critical to say about each other's work. It's as if they all realize that each of their careers depend on continuing to support and say wonderful things about each other and encouraging each of their readers to purchase books published by the rest of this group. I will admit that anytime I see a huge group of glowing reviews written by this group of ladies, I immediately find myself becoming critical of the actual work. And with this particular book, one of the glowing reviews was written by a blogger who was then quoted later in the book. Sorry but when you do that, you lose all credibility in my eyes.
I realized part way through this book that it was mostly a bunch of Simcha's blog posts put together into a book format. This is a complete turn off for me. If I wanted to read the blog posts, I would do so. But I bought the book because I was hoping for something new and unique. Not something I found in the book at all.
The overall tone of the book was rather irreverent and casual. I know this was an attempt to make the subject more human. However, I found that as the book progressed, the tone was so irreverent that it became incredibly off putting and somewhat insulting. Maybe I'm old fashioned but I really think that most books for adults that are not comedies should be written in a slightly more formal tone. Especially when discussing a topic such as this one.
The title of this book was rather misleading. This book was written essentially to women only. Not to all "sinner's" as the title suggests. I am of the mindset that NFP needs to be discussed, used, and interpreted by both parters in a couple. Not only the wife. Yes, all of the charting must be done by the wife because it is her cycle that is changing. But every husband really needs to learn how to interpret the charts himself so that he's not just being a big gigantic jerk and constantly asking what the chart says. But then again, maybe that is just the difference in the way our method teaches (teaching to the couple the entire time) vs the way many other organizations teach (focusing the teaching exclusively on the wife). It shows much more respect and consideration when a husband takes the time to learn how to read the charts and just does it himself rather than leaving it all to his wife.
So there's my opinion on the book. I know it won't be popular in many circles but I frankly felt let down, almost lied to by the reviews and constant shouting about the book being a wonderful realistic view of NFP.