3 out of 4 stars
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The Counterfeit Climax: Confronting the Issues That Sabotage Sex, Romance and Relationships, written by Dave and Ashley Willis, is a Christian relationship guide. In it, the co-authors, a couple married for nearly twenty years, defines counterfeit climaxes—lies and myths about relationships that cause them to fail. Sex is God’s gift to us and a crucial part of what makes relationships work. It is often misused and not understood, though, causing strife in romances. The couple picks apart what brings on divorce and separation, advising readers to recommit to their marriages in accordance with God’s design for them, doing away with the modern-day ideologies surrounding sex, romance, and relationships. Using their own stories, as well as messages from their listeners and some of their friends, they paint a picture of what to do and not to do with your spouse.
Dave and Ashley run parallels between different couples, listeners, friends, and others, who have had or are having difficulties in their relationships, to relay their lesson. To add to that, for each of the nine chapters, questions to consider are posed to readers, facilitating engagement and interactivity. Some nonfiction books have a lot of information to relay, taking from a number of sources. References normally comprise a significant portion of the book as a consequence, making it seem as though filler content eclipses the actual substantive parts of the book. I didn’t get this from The Counterfeit Climax at all—the footnotes were cut down to a minimum and used only where relevant—which I really appreciated.
Another selling point of The Counterfeit Climax is how well edited it was, having very little errors. This made me believe that the book has been professionally edited. Along that same vein, the writing got slightly humorous at times. This was mostly visible in Dave’s narrative, especially with respect to one memorable hospital visit.
This book is strongly religious, having footholds in Christian beliefs. It is aimed at Christ followers, specifically those who are married. I found this made for a sort of exclusivity to permeate the book, so it won’t apply to a large audience. This was partly offset by how relatable some of the stories seemed, but I do believe making room for a larger target audience would not have been remiss.
One thing that I took issue with in the book was how it seemed to reduce the fabric of relationships to the sexual aspects of it. The authors make a disclaimer that this is not their intention; however, much of the content is inarguably focused on how to better one’s sex life for a more successful marriage. It’s even strongly hinted at in the title of the book. When it came on to things like communication and consistency, it nearly always circled back to the topic of sex, which was rather disappointing.
Continuing with the negatives, as this is a two-author book, there were two different narrators for different parts within it. Dave’s and Ashley’s voices are identified when they put their names, bracketed, in a paragraph. Sometimes, it’s clear who is speaking. Other times, readers are left to guess. The chapters didn’t belong, for lack of a better word, to any one of the two authors; indicating who was speaking at all times would have introduced a bit more clarity, though.
The Counterfeit Climax gets a rating of three out of four stars. While informative and with points worth considering, this book doesn’t cater to a wide audience, gets confusing at times with regard to pinpointing narrative voice, and somewhat implies the bare bones of a relationship don’t extend beyond a sexual element, warranting one star less than a full score. It is remarkably well written, as well, so readers with a preference for Christian-based self-help books, particularly as it has to do with improving one’s relationship, would find this book a suitable read.
The Counterfeit Climax
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