Kirkus Star


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A psychoanalytic exposition on early development which gives prominence to Dr. Gaylin's particular concern, the capacity for loving and caring. Nurture is essential during the prolonged human infancy; in fact, the survival of the species depends on it, according to Dr. Gaylin, who argues for its natural origin. Caring is a distinctly human attribute, a biological response to environmental conditions, a way of handling a baby which helps perpetuate the species: that baby grown to adulthood will also be able to love, reproduce, and care in turn. The connections between early feeding habits and feelings of security have been amply documented; Dr. Gaylin makes a similar case for early forms of attachment and the ability to care for others. Using the conclusions of such researchers as Piaget (on children) and Harlow and Bowlby (on animals), and the extensions of recent psychoanalysts (Mahler, Sullivan, Spitz), he discusses the infant's interaction with the mother--touching, smiling, eye contact, proximity--seeing in them the key to future relationships. He uses ""mother"" in his examples but acknowledges that a caring adult of either sex has the same capacity. While not opposed to day care per se, be knows the sorry consequences of most institutional care and prefers more constant companionship, especially in the first year of life. A persuasive, theoretical essay, written with the easy familiarity of Erich Fromm and the same high regard for human impulses.

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1976
Publisher: Knopf