"A good healthy, happy relationship between a man and a woman is a precious, much sought-after gift. But it takes work. Lots and lots and lots and lots of work."

Patricia Lorenz considers herself an expert on men by now, recently embarking on a midlife marriage after long and short term liaisons with a variety of males, for a while even offering her apartment as an overnight stop-over for (happily married) airline pilots. In this upbeat account, she recalls her experiences and sets down rules for women trying to find happiness the second or third time around. Pregnancy precipitated her first marriage but parenthood didn’t preserve it; hubby #2 was too self-absorbed for the "Brady Bunch" blended family experiment. She had men friends and sweethearts: Marty, too much of a nice guy; Tony, a former mobster turned FBI witness; Ned, who wrote scintillating emails but had no job and turned out to be a conspiracy theorist. She and Jack got together for a long time, then broke up, only to reunite and finally, marry. She considers their relationship successful now because of those "57 steps"—between her condo and his—just enough separation to make the marriage work. So he's a sports freak and she’s not, for example, but she can avoid hubby's hobby by retreating to her own lair.

Lorenz has a penchant for making practical lists to judge potential companions (i.e. 30 Questions, Zero Factors, Plus Factors) and offers her advice with a healthy dash of humor. She presents interesting facts along the way, such as that "women talk to think,” changing their opinions by expanding their knowledge through conversation, while men "think to talk," carefully mulling before speaking. Women use more than twice as many words as men on any given day, according to Lorenz. Guaranteed to advise as well as amuse, 57 Steps to Paradise is designed as a pleasant and informative memoir of one woman's conquests in the age-old battle of the sexes.

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