I Ain’t Much Baby
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Book Review – I Ain’t Much Baby but I’m All I’ve Got
by Jess Lair, Ph.D.
Reviewed by Linda Wall, BA
November 28, 2020
I bought my second copy of I Ain’t Much Baby But I’m All I’ve Got in 2000 as somewhere over the previous twenty years my first copy became so dog-eared that it was falling apart, as is this copy now. This great book is one of the first books I read back in the ‘80s that really showed me practical ways to improve my self-esteem and emotional well-being.
Mr. Lair addresses many areas of life – from self-acceptance, to grief and death, love, relationships and sexuality and spirituality – as he understands them – for him, in his life.
I love Jess’s writing style. It’s very casual and it feels like, he’s sitting across the table from you having this philosophical discussion about life. A lot of the book uses examples from his life, his students and scientific research to demonstrate his philosophy.
In Chapter two – titled “Why Are We So Afraid of Ourselves?” Jess presents a bunch of questions:
Why do we run away from the love and affection we desperately need?
Why am I so strange?
Why am I so needing of love and affection?
Why am I so insecure?
Why am I so concerned about: Who am I? What am I? Where am I?
Reading this book was probably one of the turning points in my life from self-blame to self—acceptance, but it was still decades before I took these suggestions to their conclusion in building my self-esteem.
In the eye-opening chapter called “Anyone for Sexuality?” He writes, “Our bodies are hooked up to our hearts, and our hearts have feelings.
Many of my students thought they could have intercourse without problems and then found out they were wrong.” He says, “…I don’t think there is sexual freedom…” (He goes on to discuss this in much more detail in his following book published in 1979 called, Sex: If I Didn’t Laugh I’d Cry)
In Chapter thirteen – “Touching People,” Jess says that, “We are so afraid of our sexual feelings that any touch is suspect…”
I’ll conclude with this statement Jess wrote in the chapter called “Love – Come Fill Your Cup.” He says, ‘…one thread that I see in most forms of love is emotional honesty.
This book gave me the courage to begin to look at all my woundedness, fears, false beliefs about my own lovability and what love really is. This is an ongoing process decades after my first read.
I highly recommend this book.
(PS – I was saddened to read that Jess Lair passed away in February 2000.)
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