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Customer Review

40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read with a grain of salt, December 1, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (Paperback)
While reading this book I found many ah-ha moments. I found it inspirational in getting my creative writing juices flowing and in showing even more reasons for why not censoring fairy tales is good for children. That being said, I also found myself questioning many of the authors arguments. I know very little about freudian psychology and while I can easily accept the idea of the id, ego, and super ego standing as metaphors for instict, self, and conscience, I did have a hard time with all of the oedipal references. Still, I accepted them in terms of the tension between a child and his same sex parent as he comes of age rather than the desire to have the opposite sex parent all to himself. I also felt uneasy about the fact that the children he was referencing seemed far more disturbed than the normal child and I highly doubt that not exposing your child to fairy tales will cause such damage to a child. Still, I was aware that he was a child psychologist and accepted that the children he had most contact with were the more disturbed children so that is why he chose them for his frames of reference. The first real problem I had with the text, however, was when he made reference to autism and a child who was "cured of autism".
Later in the text he mentions a study where there was a group of children who were familiar with violent fairy tales, and a group of children who were only familiar with the watered down versions. Both groups were showed violent films. Bettelheim claimed that the group exposed to the fairy tales reacted less aggressively to the films. I found this interesting but poorly cited which makes me wonder about the ligitamacy of this assumption. Reading other reviews and finding out more about Bettelheim's history helped me put the reading into perspective.
I will probably only recomend this book to people with an interest in literary analysis or fantasy writing to serve as an inpiration, but I would add a disclaimer about his questionable credibility.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 23, 2010, 6:51:40 PM PST
If your suspicion is mostly that autism is incurable, outcome studies have shown many autistic children have grown up to be perfectly normal adults. Check out Floor Time and ABA:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1191852,00.html

If you are going to take Bettelheim with a grain of salt, it's OK; just so long as you take his opponents the same way.

Posted on Feb 5, 2012, 4:47:39 PM PST
Since you freely admit to having little understanding of the underlying psychology and refer to "getting your creative writing juices flowing" and apparently read this book for that purpose, I'd have to say that you are the one with questionable credibility with this review. I mean, seriously -what makes your take on the l-e-gitimacy of the author's work in his field worth paying any attention to if you are just some kind of aspiring author with no psychological background? Might be a good idea to stick to the fantasy writing and leave the critique of psychologist's work to those more qualified. Oh wait -you meant "read my review with a grain of salt, didn't you"?

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2013, 3:54:04 PM PDT
Jacob says:
Please don't lecture! Anybody can write a review SAS. Be gentle!
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