This book often frustrated me, especially for about the first half. I struggled to put my finger on what it was that bothered me, although the glaringThis book often frustrated me, especially for about the first half. I struggled to put my finger on what it was that bothered me, although the glaring avoidance of the f-word (feminism/feminist) was an obvious hangup. I also would have liked more discussion about how gender differences in communicative style arise in the first place, and how they're magnified and reinforced. The author points out that these gender differences can be observed in very young children, but doesn't explicitly address the specter of ~biology~ hovering over all this. There's also relatively little discussion of people, including children, who don't conform to the conversational norms of their perceived gender....more
FINALLY. I took ages to read this book. I struggle with reading book-length, general studies in language and linguistics these days; I keep expectingFINALLY. I took ages to read this book. I struggle with reading book-length, general studies in language and linguistics these days; I keep expecting the book to organize itself like an academic article, briefly and bluntly stating its argument so I can decide whether to agree with it or not. That is probably why I found the sections on neuroscience, animal behavior, and evolution the most interesting and easy to read--because I know comparatively less about these subjects, so I bring fewer preconceived notions and biases to my reading on them.
Overall, I think this book does a good job of presenting an overview of a broad, vastly multidisciplinary subject. I'm happy to have read it and gained a better, if rudimentary, understanding of the research that's going on in this field. The epilogue was particularly interesting, because it highlighted how, when addressing a question this big, this far beyond our present understanding, very smart, scientifically-minded people can logic their way to very different assumptions and conclusions, none of which can yet be ruled out as possible....more