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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

August 04, 1996|ERIKA TAYLOR

THE WONDER OF BOYS by Michael Gurian (Tarcher/Putnam: $23.95, 320 pp.). Raising a boy in today's culture is full of challenges and pitfalls. The lack of positive male role models, an increasing divorce rate and declining sense of community all make it more and more difficult to keep boys on a healthy path. With that in mind, Michael Gurian has written a book specifically designed to help parents raise their sons in 1990s America.

"The Wonder of Boys" is full of good insights and advice. Most helpful is Gurian's convincing argument that boys have a completely different set of biological imperatives than girls. Instead of trying to make them express empathy the way girls do, for example, Gurian believes we should understand that a boy's emphatic responses tend to be delayed (as in: "You took a pretty bad fall back in the third quarter").

The only unfortunate aspect of this book is Gurian's tendency to sometimes leave behind science and psychology in favor of his own opinion. Statements like, ". . . Female culture in general must end its bitter feud with male culture by holding out the olive branch to the elder males," may alienate some of the very people he is trying to reach.

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