Most helpful critical review
84 of 98 people found the following review helpful
Interesting, readable, but problematic
on January 30, 2001
I enjoyed reading this book, but I also had problems with it. Most of the information comes out of the author's own experience working with children who had experienced what she describes as psychic trauma. Primarily her subjects are the children of the Chowchilla kidnapping that took place in 1976, but there are other children that she refers to as well. While her work is important and interesting, it is certainly not the last word in trauma research. I was particularly distressed by her tendency to dismiss and invalidate the children themselves while imposing her own interpretations of their experiences on the very children she was researching. Questioning a child's ability to remember their own reality is very problematic for me, and stating as a fact a great many things that she does not document made me wonder what on earth her agenda was. She tended to alienate her subjects with her inability to believe the things they shared with her in trust and confidence, and I suspect that she lost a great deal of valuable understanding in the process. As I said, I enjoyed reading the book and I'm sure it will be a valuable addition to my reference shelf, but I do take issue with her bias and her own interpretations of experience she herself did not face. It is for this reason that I will keep her nearby as I continue my own research and understanding of trauma and recovery.