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The Monster Within

3.13  ·  Rating details ·  77 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
""Psychoanalysis has always addressed the monster within: conflicts, fears, and those unacceptable feelings of anger, envy, and hatred with which we all grapple. Such feelings are particularly scary for mothers, and Dr. Barbara Almond, an experienced psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, shows us how and why this is so. "The Monster Within" presents richly nuanced and detailed c ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published July 12th 2010)
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Apr 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
An uncomfortable read on many levels. Few mothers are willing to admit, even to themselves, that they have anything in common with Andrea Yates, Susan Smith or Dr. Frankenstein.
According to the author, many if not most of us could benefit from accepting that sometimes we fear, resent, even downright hate our children. Dr. Almond draws on her years as a clinical psychologist and brings in several examples from literature, film, and current news stories. At the very least, mothers do feel differen
Feb 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
So this was presented on NPR as a book about ambivalence in mothering... something that really interests my because I have PPD. However, as the title suggests, the author focuses more on the horrific and does a lot of allusion/comparison to Frankenstein's monster. I skimmed most of it because the whole Frankenstein bit just kept cropping up - to the point of monotony.
Oct 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
To be fair, I'm a sociologist and was expecting a sharper social analysis than what Almond provides, which made the self-helpy emphasis of the book all the more disappointing to me.
Melissa Yael Winston
Dec 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: psychology
The apparent raison d'etre of this book is that mothers are not constantly gung-ho and unquestioningly loving of their children, but in our society, to admit to this ambivalence is tantamount to treason. It's not hard to see that motherhood is glorified, which is why I was drawn to the subject. But Almond decides to approach maternal ambivalence in two of the most infuriating ways imaginable. One, rather than take a critical look at cultural pressures regarding motherhood, she instead takes a na ...more
Allison Dellion
Apr 01, 2011 rated it liked it
This book is for anyone who has struggled with the love/hate relationship that goes along with being a mother to children. If you have ever felt ambivalence toward your children, The Monster Within > is a good book to understand why that is and that it is normal to have these feelings as part of motherhood.

Even with that, I felt this book had a left a lot to be desired. For a large portion of the book, the author, Barbara Almond, talks about women who do not want to become mothers or did not
Sep 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
I heard about this book on NPR. The preface to the book is good, very good in fact, but that was it. I felt like I was reading someone's dissertation and it was quite monotonous. Usually I like references and comparisons to literature, but this went WAY overboard on that. Could she have possibly referenced Frankenstein any more? Ugh. There was a lot of Freudian stuff and i can't stand books heavy on Freud, this is no longer the Victorian age. The main part of the book was about people who do not ...more
Jan 15, 2012 added it
Shelves: gave-up-on-you
I was excited to pick this one up, but after reading the intro I've slowed down. Something about Almond using fiction as part of her case studies to support her argument makes it feel much less believable. If it was advertised as a different type of book (literary study w/support of some psychological cases), I would have given it more weight. I ended up returning it to the library because I couldn't renew it anymore.
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
The intro/preface to this book is wonderful. However it gives away the entire premise of the book along with all the literary examples the author uses to validate her points. I was approximately 75% through with the book when I couldn't take another Frankenstein Reference. It was a very valid point, however exrtemely monotonous.
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Highly interesting and with the noble goal of normalizing the ambivalent feelings about motherhood that almost every mother has.

The lower than "solid" (what a 3 is for me) rating comes from some heteronormative and other problematic vocabulary. You can feeling her trying to steer away from it, but the author appears to still have some blind spots in those regards.
Oct 23, 2012 added it
Recommended to Alexandra by: online review
I thought that this was an interesting subject and one that is not properly discussed.
I read it very quickly and thought it was interesting and objective.
Mar 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
Difficult to read from a layman's perspective---I felt as thought I was reading someone's dissertation.
Jan 07, 2011 marked it as to-read
I heard the author on NPR today. Sounds like an interesting book.
Heard the author on NPR and cried. So I bought the book on my kindle. Stay tuned...
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MOTHERS Book Bag: Book Review: The Monster Within 1 9 Jan 25, 2012 08:10AM  
  • Should We Burn Babar?: Essays on Children's Literature and the Power of Stories
  • The Unfinished Revolution: How a New Generation Is Reshaping Family, Work, and Gender in America
  • Laid: Young People's Experiences with Sex in an Easy-Access Culture
  • The Porning of America: The Rise of Porn Culture, What it Means, and Where We Go from Here
  • What Are Intellectuals Good For?
  • The Years of Talking Dangerously
  • America and the Pill: A History of Promise, Peril, and Liberation
  • Our Bodies, Our Crimes: The Policing of Women's Reproduction in America
  • Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science
  • From Eve to Dawn: A History of Women in the World, Vol. 1
  • White Weddings: Romancing Heterosexuality in Popular Culture
  • Rape: Sex, Violence, History
  • Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture
  • Burning the Page: The eBook Revolution and the Future of Reading
  • Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World
  • Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History
  • Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life
  • Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy
Dr. Barbara Almond was an American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. She authored books on psychiatry, including The Monster Within: The Hidden Side of Motherhood. With her husband Richard, also a psychiatrist, Almond wrote The Therapeutic Narrative, a book about psychiatric conditions in literary characters.
More about Barbara Almond...
“But every mother is also the person she is, with the temperament she was born with and the early experiences she had with her own family and society. And every child is born with some inbuilt temperament and genetic endowment, although with enormous brain plasticity and capacity for development. It” 0 likes
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