Originality and insight regarding human development and relationships: A.
Originality, insight and sensitivity regarding gender and society: F.
I experienced a paradigm shift in my view of how humans create and form relationships and healthy emotional lives as a result of reading this book. It provides clear information about basic brain anatomy and function, with excellent discussion of why our emotional and cognitive lives often seem separate from each other. The book focuses on the limbic brain as the seat of emotion, and on its need for relationship and attachment throughout our lives.
After this, the authors disappointed me by reviewing a tired litany of all the ills of our impersonal society, with the resultant epidemics of mental illness and addiction. The authors provided no original insight into how an adult can improve his or her experience within this society apart from years of psychotherapy; nor did they provide any original policy ideas to improve the society they criticize.
Throughout the book I felt a growing sense that the authors' philosophy was hostile to women. At first I thought I might be overreacting to the outdated use of male singular pronouns (I don't know when I last read a modern book using "he" to mean "he or she"). However, when I came to the relentless focus on the mother - and only the mother - as the source of young children's emotional learning in the middle chapters of the book, I could only conclude that my impression was real, and that the authors were possibly making a deliberate political statement.
The book is written in a way that is sometimes beautiful but prone to florid language and exaggeration. Its frequent metaphors yield some lovely imagery, but sometimes I yearned for straightforward explanation. The many quotes are delightful and illuminating.
In short, I strongly recommend the book for the insight and information it provides, but you may wish to bring a big shaker of salt and use it liberally.