Greg Spry's Reviews > Jessica: The autobiography of an infant

Jessica by Jeffrey Von Glahn
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really liked it

In novelized form, this book details a psychotherapist's intriguing real life sessions with a patient plagued by psychological problems due to her experiences as an infant.

The novel provided a fascinating insight into how the human psyche copes with trauma at a young age and how soon in life a person develops the way they deal with adversity, which goes a long way toward shaping personality. As other reviewers have stated, this is a must-read for parents and parents-to-be because mistreating a child when he or she is born, after, and even before while still in the womb can traumatize them.

I'm no stranger to psychology and expressing my feelings due to my background, so the birth recollections and infant personality shaping didn't surprise me. Rather, the information presented further vindicated what I've learned through various sources over the years. I would not be at all surprised to someday learn that people who are perceived as generally happy people (and others who are not) ended up that way due to very early childhood experiences.

All in all, this wasn't something I normally read, but I'm glad I did, and I recommend it.

I found a handful of minor things with which to take issue. (1) The prologue is not a prologue. It's a preface or introduction. Actually, I would've put it at the end of the book rather than at the beginning. The info wasn't necessary to know at the start and delayed my getting into the actual story. (2) The author reveals some information at the beginning of the book that, in my opinion, might have been better withheld until later as a reveal. (3) Given that this is a narrative account of non-fictional events, I can't really fault the author for wanting to provide a thorough account of everything that happened. Nevertheless, seeing as how this is presented in novel form, I would've shortened or eliminated certain superfluous details. There were specifics about Jessica's life that showed neither how her psyche was shaped nor how she coped with things (or just went on too long). These could've been covered more briefly, especially earlier in the book. Later in the book, the recurring sessions start to drag on a bit. (4) There were the typical handful of misspellings, typos, and grammar issues--nothing too excessive. I also encountered recurring newlines accompanied by nonstandard characters in the middle of paragraphs, perhaps due to the KDP upload and reformatting for Kindle. Not a big deal, but there are enough of them that I would eventually address them. (5) Last and definitely least, I'm a certified skeptic, so I still must question the near-birth accounts. Jessica could have discussed her birth with her mother. She could have heard her mother talking about these experiences at some point or multiple points in the past. She could've overheard certain details and her mind might have filled in the rest. The author could be making everything up. All that seems unlikely given the detailed accounts, but I like to have hard evidence before I buy into something completely.
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Reading Progress

January 1, 2016 – Started Reading
March 14, 2016 – Shelved
March 14, 2016 –
page 132
April 2, 2016 –
page 198
April 10, 2016 – Finished Reading

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