I started reading bell hooks’ All about love last night and it was nothing I expected, but everything I needed and more.
The plan was to read one chapter for about 15-20 minutes before bed. What actually happened instead was that I ended up reading for over an hour and had to force myself to put it down halfway through chapter 4.
hooks—born Gloria Jean Watkins—was a scholar and activist who explored the connections between race, gender, class through her work. All about love is part one of an unofficial 3-part series that dives deep into the topic of love, but with an exploration of the three (race, class, gender).
One of my biggest takeaways from the earliest chapters of the book is an idea that isn’t new to me, but that still enlightening—the idea that love is a verb; not a noun.
“When we understand love as the will to nurture our own and another’s spiritual growth, it becomes clear that we cannot claim to love if we are hurtful and abusive. Love and abuse cannot coexist.”All About Love, page 6
hooks goes on to talk about the many dysfunctions—especially in the family relationship dynamic—that pass for love in the absence of knowledge, and the impact that this often has on many of our later romantic relationships. She talks about the role that therapy played in getting her to the point where she could acknowledge the dysfunctional nature of her own relationship with her parents.
In reading, I too am forced to examine my own relationships—familial, friendships, and my relationship with myself.
I’ll be sure to write an update once I’m finished. But so far, hooks delivers beyond my wildest dreams.