Hartmann (Psychiatry/Tufts Univ. School of Medicine; The Functions of Sleep, 1973) writes accessibly and persuasively about ``boundaries''—his way of conceptualizing the mind. Hartmann makes a strong and eloquent case for the validity of boundaries as a psychological tool. In the course of his extensive studies on nightmares, he tells us, he encountered many aspects of subjects' lives that couldn't be explained—a quandary that led him to conceive of ``thick'' and ``thin boundaries,'' and, ultimately, to develop his ``Boundary Questionnaire,'' reproduced here. The result is a ``mental map,'' deriving its terms from common sense and experience as well as from classical psychology and psychoanalysis. Boundaries pervade our lives, Hartmann says, informing every detail of the way we exist in both waking and sleeping states—determining how ``open'' we are to experiences both inner (issues of self) and outer (relationships of all kinds). While Hartmann draws on extremes of ``thick'' and ``thin'' to make his points, most of us fall somewhere in between. He claims no definitive answers to the ``nature versus nurture'' question, but boundaries do appear to change in reaction to environmental factors, though not always in adaptive ways. The author concludes by pointing to the practical clinical value of boundaries in psychotherapy (individual, couple, and group) and psychopathology, as well as indirectly in the treatment of many medical and psychological conditions. It's a concept with much potential for the ongoing study of personality, the mind, and the organization of the brain. Never reductive, Hartmann sketches an insightful map of the mind that may prove of use to professionals and laypersons alike in the endless quest ``to know ourselves.''

Pub Date: Nov. 21, 1991

ISBN: 0-465-00739-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1991

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?


Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

Did you like this book?