HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Fascinating Womanhood: A Guide to a Happy Marriage
Author: Helen B Andelin
Publisher: Bantam, updated edition published in 1990
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Older teens and adults
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Andelin, Helen B. Fascinating Womanhood: A Guide to a Happy Marriage (published in 1963 by Fascinating Womanhood, P. O. Box 3617, Santa Barbara, CA 93105; revised edition published in 1974 by Pacific Press Santa Barbara, P. O. Box 3738, Santa Barbara, CA 93105). What makes a woman fascinating to her husband? What is happiness in marriage for a woman? These are just two of the questions Helen B. Andelin answers in the bestselling classic that has already brought new happiness and life to millions of marriages. With the latest edition subtitled “How to Make Your Marriage a Lifelong Love Affair,” Fascinating Womanhood offers timeless wisdom, practical advice, and old-fashioned values to meet the needs and challenges of today’s fascinating woman. After two introductory chapters, Part I, Chapters 3-14, cover “The Angelic” (i.e., spiritual principles), and Part II, Chapters 15-21, “The Human” (i.e., everyday practical applications).
As several reviewers noted, this is a very controversial and polarizing book. Some people love it, claiming that it saved their marriages. Others hate it, affirming that it ruined their lives, or more often the life of someone else whom they knew. Those who hate it most likely come from a modernist, left-wing, feminist, egalitarian worldview. The usual criticisms are that it is an anti-female, socially destructive book and the advice sounds sexist and outdated. Many object that it teaches a woman to allow herself to become her husband’s slave and to be walked on like a doormat. That is simply not true. It does teach the Biblical value of the wife’s submission to her husband, and as one individual who initially opposed the book but tried it and found that it worked noted, “Submission doesn’t mean elevating man above woman. It means acknowledging that he is supreme in his sphere, while woman reigns in HER sphere.”
Not all the suggestions will be applicable to every woman. And there may even a few disagreements with some of the theological tenets underlying the book. Years ago, a preacher friend of mine recommended this book, or at least some of the ideas in it, primarily for wives to recapture a little of the spice in their marriages, and he was falsely accused of endorsing the “error” in it. Like any other work by fallible human beings, the reader can take what is beneficial and ignore what isn’t useful. As another person asked, “What is so bad about accepting your husband as he is, appreciating him and admiring him? What is so bad about acting feminine? What is so bad about taking some responsibility for your own actions and giving him the freedom to take responsibility for his?” Helen Andelin is the founder of the Fascinating Womanhood movement and is also the author of The Fascinating Girl.