My Thoughts on "The Conversation"

A friend sent me Hill Harper's The Conversation last week & told me to read it immediately.  I hadn't picked it up when it was first published, and I hadn't had too many people recommend it to me.  I sat on it for about a week, before I opened it up on a Friday night when I was sitting at home thinking about my life. So what's The Conversation about?  From the synopsis:

African Americans have always turned to family in times of need. But now, this proud and strong legacy is in peril. Black men and women have stopped communicating effectively, threatening the relationships and marriages necessary to sustain the Black family. In this moving and practical book, Hill Harper -- bestselling author, NAACP Image Award winner, and CSI: NY star -- undertakes a journey both universal and deeply personal in search of answers to this dilemma.

The book is grouped into five sections, and Harper covers a wide variety of topics throughout those sections.  Everything from expectations, to communication, to intimacy is discussed.  Harper does a great job of highlighting the various facets of a relationship, as well as the areas that Black men and women seem to have a disconnect.  And he doesn't just highlight the issues, he gives suggestions on what the average reader can do to help remedy the problems as they go about their relationships with the opposite sex.

The thing that I really loved about this book was how personal the book was.  Hill Harper talks about his own issues with relationships, and what motivated him to start considering some of the topics in the book.  He also talks to groups of men & women and shares their views on a variety of topics as well.  And towards the end of the book, Harper shares the views that were expressed when he had a "conversation" party with his friends.  This was a great touch, because of instead of 200+ pages of simply Harper's opinion, the reader is able to get a wide array of opinions.  As we all know, men and women are not monolithic groups, and Harper highlights that well.

I was immediately hooked on this book, and I couldn't put it down.  I related a lot to what Harper talked about in regards to his fears & how he let his fears dictate his behavior in previous relationships.  Around the time that I started reading this book, I also realized just how much my fear had immobilized me when it came to relationships.  Harper shares his experience with getting over his fear, both the successes & the set-backs.

Another highlight of the book were the words of wisdom about marriage from long-time married couples.  But it was presented in a laid-back, relaxed manner - like you were talking to an old friend.  The lack of "preachy-ness" (not a word, I know, but go with me on this) in the book really made it relate-able yet also extremely helpful.  It was like having a discussion with a friend that you love & respect, who gives you advice, helpful hints, and knowledge all at the same time.

By the end of the book I had a lot of things to think about, but I also felt like I was equipped to make some changes in my own life in regards to my fear issues.  I was left with a feeling of empowerment, of positivity & with the desire to be a better person.  I really enjoyed this book & I recommend it highly.  You may not learn anything new about the opposite sex, but its thought-provoking topics may help you learn something about yourself.