SUGGESTIONS OF ABUSE

TRUE AND FALSE MEMORIES OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL TRAUMA

Memory can be as malleable as clay, warns a clinical psychologist, and the road to recovering memories of child abuse is strewn with the shards of ``unwitting'' errors by so-called expert therapists. Yapko (Trancework, not reviewed) bravely and horrifyingly suggests that accusations of child abuse are, at the moment, trendy. An expert on hypnosis with strong opinions on the subject of hidden or repressed memory, the author doesn't hold with the popular theory that those who can't remember childhood experiences must be repressing them, that repressed memories must be traumatic, and that trauma equals abuse—probably sexual abuse. ``Abuse happens,'' he mourns, ``but so do false accusations.'' Confronted with patients confused about whether they had been abused, and with seemingly innocent parents whose lives were disintegrating because their grown children had accused them of abuse, Yapko questioned nearly 900 therapists. What did they really know about memory and about recovering past experience under hypnosis? Not much, he found out. What led therapists to the diagnosis of childhood abuse? Commitment to their patients was often distorted by the therapists' training and personal beliefs: Certain groups of symptoms indicated child abuse whether the patient agreed or not, and resistance equalled ``denial.'' As a result, vulnerable patients were ``unwittingly'' (Yapko emphasizes) led to memories of abuse that may or may not have happened. Once an idea is planted, the mind then adds colorful detail, a process called ``confabulation.'' Dream interpretation—the ``astrology of psychotherapy,'' he calls it—helps fill in gaps. Yapko offers guidelines for accused parents, involved siblings, and abuse victims. Yapko gives no quarter to child abusers, but offers wise guidance and support to families whose lives have been decimated by false accusations.

Pub Date: May 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-671-87431-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1994

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

WHY WE SWIM

A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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