Sense v. Friction

When Faith Causes Family Friction: Dr. Ray Tackles the Tough QuestionsWhen Faith Causes Family Friction: Dr. Ray Tackles the Tough Questions by Ray Guarendi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a helpful, if limited, little book. It is short and very easy to read, and it may contain precisely the wisdom you need in your familial troubles. At the same time, much of it seems very common-sense, especially if you’ve listened to Dr. Ray’s radio show before.

And ultimately, that’s what this book is: reading Dr. Ray’s radio show, complete with humorous asides and distracted parentheticals. And that can be delightful and helpful and informative, but ultimately, the radio show works better because Dr. Ray is able to address specifics with his callers, whereas we (the listeners) glean that which is generally applicable. In this book, Dr. Ray condenses his comments to only that which is generally applicable, losing much of the helpful specificity.

And much like a radio show, this book lacks a lot of integrated context. In one answer, Dr. Ray will reference earlier answers; that, combined with undecipherable chapter titles, shows we should read this book from beginning to end. But then Dr. Ray will repeat something he wrote two pages earlier–not just reference it, but repeat it word-for-word–and the reader must wonder whether he is reading this book incorrectly. Finally, the book ends without the slightest conclusion; whether or not these writings could be summarized isn’t clear, but we can’t know, because Dr. Ray doesn’t try. Once he runs out of questions, he runs out of pages, and we’re done. So if you need a specific question answered, it could be very useful–provided you can figure out which title relates to the question you want to ask.

Now, when I say that this book is “common sense,” I must acknowledge that such sense is not at all common–I mean only that I knew much of it beforehand, and it probably does not take Dr. Ray’s psychology degrees to figure it out. But many people have questions along these lines, and for all their intellect and wisdom, cannot come up with the answers Dr. Ray provides. And it may be that, in times of struggle and strife, I shall forget these answers and wonder troubling questions to myself, and I shall need this reminder. For that reason alone, I intend to keep this book.

View all my reviews

Add a comment or ask a question