Grace's Reviews > Molecules of Emotion: Why You Feel the Way You Feel

Molecules of Emotion by Candace B. Pert
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's review
Mar 08, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: non-fiction, psychology, science-brain, memoir, read-in-2010
Read from March 01 to 08, 2010

The title of this book is misleading. This book is not about the molecules of emotion or explaining why you feel the way you feel. It is the outlet for author, scientist, and conference speaker Candace Pert chose to share her personal and professional history, toot her own horn so to speak, and educate the average person on the new paradigm in scientific research that promotes a holistic approach concerning mind, body, and soul. The way Pert makes it sound, she is spearheading the new paradigm movement by being the token scientist to lend her extensive research expertise. I just couldn't stop asking myself, "But what about the molecules of emotion? When is she going to talk about feelings?"

She did cover emotions and the role feelings play in sickness, recovery, and good health; however, it seemed as an afterthought or a bonus discovery as she detailed her research career in peptides and receptors in search of a cure for cancer (her father died of lunch cancer in the early 1980s) and AIDS. She also used the book as a platform to discuss the male chauvinism, intense competition, the failure of science to recognize new discoveries, and the bureaucracy of an system that should be helping people live healthier happy lives instead of bolstering up the egos of men in power.

Even though I felt grossly mislead by the title, I couldn't help but get caught up in the author's narrative. Her many years of science writing (the boring passive voice) did not negatively impact this playful yet straight forward narrative that was easy to understand by someone who is not on the science field. She broke down her research and provided easy to understand examples without talking down to the reader. This is key for any science book targeted for a general mainstream audience. If you are interested in learning of one particular scientist's journey through science between the 1970's and the 1990's whose research spanned cancer and HIV, then this is the book for you. It won't disappoint. If you are interested in the science behind either of these diseases, then this is the book for you. If you want to be beat over the head with holistic adages like eating organic food and not doing drugs or drinking alcohol, the last chapter is definitely for you. This is where the book became annoying and lost some of its credibility with me. It could also stem from the fact that the book was written well over a decade ago and her earth-shattering advice is common knowledge for almost all Americans at this point.

Overall, I could only give this book two stars. I would have given it three or four if it actually focused on emotions.
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Reading Progress

03/13 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Leandra Very well written review that echoes almost exactly how I felt. I was completely pulled in but left wondering "what the heck?" at the end. I feel like I missed the point of the book but perhaps the author did?

Hollie Very well said. This book was very hard to want to finish

message 3: by Claudia (new)

Claudia Wow I'm so glad I read this and didn't waste my time on the book

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