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Growing Up Jung: Coming of Age as the Son of Two Shrinks Hardcover – August 16, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Canadian journalist Toub writes "The Other Half," a biweekly column for Toronto™s Globe and Mail about male-female interactions, psychology, and human behavior. Toub grew up in a tract housing suburb of Denver with two Jungian psychologists for parents, so he has particular childhood memories of dream interpretations, free associations, and describing shapes in the plaster of the ceiling. His New Age parents brought him into contact with the post-Jungian Arnold Mindell: "I like to refer to him as my parents™ ˜former guru.™¯" In Toub™s family, self-reflection was a highly valued trait, and throughout this engaging and illuminating memoir he interweaves his own autobiographical reflections with the writings of Arnold, Freud, and Jung. Where Jung found connections between physiology and the psyche, Mindell linked psychology and quantum physics, and regarded one™s life and the environment as a manifestation of the unconscious. With such concepts permeating pages on "Synchronicity and the Meaning of Love," "The Oedipus Complex," and "Getting Laid the Jungian Way," Toub writes with wit, humor, and a penetrating honesty as he examines his family life, his relationships with various women and his marriage, along with sexual fantasies, masturbation, the I Ching, and meditation.
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Review

"I hated to see this book end. I loved every person in it, from the wistful dad with his 'fluffy-edged' voice, to Toub's kind and darling mom, his tolerant and loving ex-wife, even that volcanic teenaged sister... Growing Up Jung is a gem.” 
The Washington Post --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (August 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393067556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393067552
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,852,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth R. Mabry on September 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I grew up in a markedly unpsychological, working class family in the 1950's and 60's in a small town in the South. When I was about to depart for college, my father said, "I hope you won't study any of that psychology stuff." To my parents, the inner life was best avoided. I've often fantasized that I would have been so much happier and better adjusted had my parents emphasized our interior worlds. Perhaps because of this deficit, I've had a lifelong interest in psychology.

I was drawn to Toub's memoir because I wondered how I might have fared growing up in a family where both parents were therapists who actively engaged in psychological explorations. I'm also attracted to the rich stew of Jungian psychology with its emphasis on dreams, myths, symbols, and archetypes.

Toub realizes that his parents were different. He writes about them in his introduction, "Most people did not go off to seminars in the desert and sit cross-legged with a bunch of other people and talk about their spirit guides." Most kids probably didn't analyze their dreams at the dinner table. And how many teenage males have discussed a fear of impotence with their mother and had her lead them in an imaginary exercise where they were encouraged to "become the erection" to gain confidence? Depending on your outlook, growing up in such an environment could sound intriguing, engaging, or even a bit creepy.

I suspect that Toub and perhaps his editors wanted to keep what could have been a heavy subject on the upbeat and readable side. Thus, the book comes across as entertainingly self-deprecating and lighthearted with each chapter broken into short sections. Toub, now 34 and married and divorced, survived his childhood and writes on psychology and other topics from Toronto.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R. L. Sassoon on September 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
It's rare to come across a book that is so absorbing, suspenseful and such real fun to read that I don't want to put it down, yet is true to life in its humor and full of wise understanding intelligently, even cunningly, articulated. It's a good story about growing up; as an elder still doing that, I found it quite valuable. The author is quite outrageously honest. The book is also a good education, in a practical fashion, about basic Jungian ideas on psychological growth toward maturity and independence and the inevitable challenges on the way.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Rishi8 on August 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Do you ever wonder why you do or say things that don't fit your self image ? Ever wonder why your relationships so frequently have the same theme, or how they might be related to your family of origin ? Do you wonder what lies beneath addictions and obsessions, yours and those closest to you ? If not, don't waste your time on this book.

This is a well-written and engaging look - honest, witty and stimulating - at these kinds of questions via one young man's struggle to emerge (he and Carl Jung would say "individuate") from a nurturing but uniquely directive family environment. I call it directive not because it specified content preferred by his parents but rather because it specified definitively how one gets the job done. Not "we want you to be a lawyer, or an engineer or a musician", but rather "you'll want to discover your true self, and here's the way to go about it."

The author is a columnist for Toronto's Globe & Mail and a blogger at Psychology Today. He's an insightful writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Miriam Murcutt on October 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is the memoir of the coming of age of Micah, the son of two never-off-duty Jungian therapists. And it was an off-the-beaten-track upbringing, worth recording; his every nuanced feeling stripped down to its barest of bones, ruthlessly analysed and reconstructed with the help of mom and pop - especially mom - through an auto-focused Jungian lens. This habit of his parents proved to be catching as Micah applied the same psychic medicine to his non-filial relationships, although on less acquiescent subjects. I was interested to find out if all this analysis, introspection and self-revelation would lead Micah to a Better Place, one denied to those whose upbringings centered around other important questions such as, "What's for dinner?". But it seems as if Jung might not have all the answers. Micah and his family chalk up their fair share of divorces, the pain of them eased perhaps because they know how to pinpoint the reasons why. But this book is full of good stuff. It's different in both its content and construction. And it's written in a relaxed manner with self-deprecating humor and an unbridled honesty.
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I might never have found Jung if a high school teacher of mine hadn't departed from the Psychology text to mention Jung. I immediately starting reading his material which is pretty rough going for a teenager. This was the beginning of a lifetime search incorporating as many of the Jungian principles as I could. (Watching projections, finding my 'type', being conscious of my shadow, active imagination, etc). Why am I envious of Micah Toub? He had this knowledge from the gate with two parents who were willing and able to listen to his dreams and educate him in some useful 'processes' that he could always use. In my area and milieu, aside from a knowledgeable teacher, there is literally no consciousness of Jung or his ideas. Even my most intelligent frineds do not employ knowledge of projection. Never mind the culture in general which is terribly ignorant of any of Jung's ideas, or, if aware of them are scornful. Jung himself said in the last year of his life that if mankind did not do the work to intergrate its 'shadow' he predicted major disasters in 50 years. Well 2011 has come and gone and humanity continues to project their dark side onto the 'other', or those different from themselves. Although it is the thinking in the Jungian community that every person who does their inner work, i,e, takes responsibility for their shadow, lifts the darkness of the collective shadow. So thank you Micah Toub for a very personal and endearing description of 'growing up Jung'. (PS Can I adopt your mother?)
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