Book review: What’s He Really Thinking?

Another book review today! 
I have to put my own bias out here: I am not a fan of “relationship” books. After working in a bookstore off and on for 4 years, I concluded that this was a one-note genre. All the books seemed to have the same basic advice and tone, no matter what the title or who the author happened to be. 
That said, I didn’t have high hopes when I received a review copy of Paula Rinehart’s What’s He Really Thinking? How to be a Relational Genius with the Man in Your Life (Nelson). Rinehart, a former Navigators staffer and professional counselor, is not new to the genre. She’s written several well-received earlier relationship-themed books.
What’s He Really Thinking? is meant to be a sort of a field guide meant to help orient women to the physiological, sexual, emotional and spiritual world of men. Chapter titles will give you a good flavor for the topics she tackles: What Men Do, Why Men Hurt and How Men Change are crafted to bring understanding to what makes men tick. Rinehart uses the second half of the book to coach women on expectations, respect, conflict, perseverence and intimacy. Appendixes with prayer points and an extremely thorough, thoughtfully-designed discussion guide round out the 206-page paperback.
Rinehart shines when she can dig deep into the “why” behind a behavior. Here, she explains her understanding how God uses conflict to rewrite our deepest, inner stories: 
“In any of us in whom the honor of his name rests because he has made us through Christ, there’s a deep excavation happening. As unbelievable as it seems some days, his image is being shaped into the mud of our souls. That’s where our fears are dug in deep…He comes after us in various ways, but he’s always present in the form of someone we love. Someone we want to love us. Only when there are huge heart matters at stake will we let his light into our own particular darkness. Only then.”

I struggle a bit with the broad generalizations (“most/all men are ___.”) in a book like this because those sweeping strokes brush over individual differences. Still, What’s He Really Thinking? it is a gracious addition to the relationship genre and would be a helpful tool for a young women learning to love the men God has placed in her life. 

About Michelle Van Loon
  • Heather Palacios

    Oh my gosh! Michelle! It is you! Wowwww!!!! I read a couple articles by you, most recently, about journeying out of church cliques. Which led me to your Twitter and blog. You're awesome! Do you remember me? These days, my husband and I serve on staff as pastors at a megachurch based out of S. Florida. Love what you're doing and how you are ministering to many through your gift of writing. I'm going to add your blog to my blogroll right now! God Bless, Heather (Funk) Palacios
    http://www.leadHership.net

  • paulvk

    These categorical interpretation books challenge our implicit revulsion to stereotypes and generalizations. I can only imagine the response I would receive if I uttered the words, "oh, I understand, you're a woman. I read a book about you!" :) You're right. These "explaining an entire gender" are by definition a bit extreme, yet the last line of the embedded quotation was golden. Thanks for the review. pvk

  • Michelle Van Loon

    Thanks for your kind words, PVK!


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