Keeping Score

Title: Keeping Score – A Guide to Love and Relationship
Author: Marc Brackett
Source: from author for review
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: Not as scientific or as useful for me as I hoped, but some couples could probably use it to bring up important issues in their relationship.

Based on the somewhat confrontational title, this probably isn’t a book I’d have just picked up. What drew me in was one of the best notes I’ve ever received from an author. He mentioned that the book contained quizzes which I’ve loved ever since I discovered Cosmo in middle school. He also mentioned that the website contained extra scientific backing for the theories presented in the book, which he’d decided to keep non-technical. After reading it, I’d like to add that the book is also much more sensitive and less confrontational than it sounds.

The author’s up-beat tone sets the stage for using this book productively, including a reminder that it’s often possible for change to start with you. That may sounds trite, but I think it’s important for using this book in a way that is considerate of your partner’s feelings. The complete tallying of scores does seem to me like something that could be a little hurtful, since you’re either going to feel like you’re less appreciated or like you’re significant other isn’t as good at your relationship as you are. However, while I would recommend not sharing total score, I would definitely suggest using it yourself to see what areas you and your significant other might want to work on.

The issues the book raises seem like they could be useful conversation starters, although the advice and description of the way different factors affect relationships is very common sense. In the book, the author acknowledges that, but based on the e-mail I got I was hoping for a tiny bit of surprising research results. I was even more disappointed with the website, which gives more information but is no more technical than the book – about as Cosmo style as the quiz, with more personal advice than scientific research.

At the end of the day, this wasn’t quite the book I was looking for. The boy and I have pretty good communication, so just having issues brought to our attention wasn’t especially helpful. We also weren’t in love with the way different attributes were weighted. And I didn’t get the scientific backing for claims I was hoping to get, even from the website. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t recommend the book. It was easy to read and the quizzes were explained clearly which made them fun to take. Because of the usability factor and the significant issues raised, I think this would make a great starting point for a couple who wanted to make things work but were struggling to identify what needed to change.


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