You wouldn't believe what Spanish women are reading – and ripping up in protest – these days.
A new book that urges wives to be submissive to their husbands has become an unexpected bestseller in Spain, even as women's group have staged protests and politicians, on both sides of the political spectrum, have denounced it.
This has not stopped it from selling like hotcakes on Spain's Amazon website, since there is nothing like a good controversy to drive book sales, as ridiculous and misogynistic as the content sounds.
In one memorable section, the book, called Cásate y sé sumisa, which translates to Get Married and Be Submissive, observes that "we [women] like humiliation because it is for the greater good."
Or this special nugget: "When your husbands tell you something, you should listen as if it were God speaking."
The self-help styled book, not (yet) translated to English, was written by an Italian journalist, and mother of four, named Costanza Miriano. After selling about 100,000 copies in Italy, a Roman Catholic Archbishop in Granada helped get it published in Spain, where its wifely lessons of "loyal obedience" started making headlines.
As Telegraph writer, Sarah Rainey points out, some five-star Amazon reviewers have been gushing with praise (let's presume they weren't being sarcastic), "Full of humour and common sense," one wrote.
As Rainey, recently engaged herself, puts it after taking a gander at the tome: "My fiancé must never read this book." (Alternatively, it may be a learning moment: If he nods sagely over such sentences as, "Power is not designed for women," run.)
The author, when contacted by the Telegraph, appeared to act as if she didn't know want all the fuss was about. The book, she says, is based on a collection of letters to a female friend, after 15 years of marriage. And, while skepticism is merited, she insisted she meant every word. "I found that I had some strange ideas about marriage and being with a man, so I wanted to share them," she says. Being submissive, she explains, is really "a step forward … I am completely at peace with myself so I can accept that some things I lose."
When there's a marital conflict in her house, she explains, she chooses from this list of responses: "he is right, marry him, have a child, obey him, have another child, forgive him, try to understand him."
Now, doesn't that sound peaceful? No doubt there's a movie deal in the future, somewhere. If nothing else, Miriano, the dutiful, obedient wife, clearly understands how to create a bestseller. Aren't we so very glad that her husband gave her permission to write it?