Author: Michelle Herman
Published: March 2013
What They Say: The two thought-provoking, extended essays that make up Stories We Tell Ourselves draw
from the author’s richly diverse experiences and history, taking the
reader on a deeply pleasurable walk to several unexpectedly profound
destinations. A steady accumulation of fascinating science,
psychoanalytic theory, and cultural history—ranging as far and wide as
neuro-ophthalmology, ancient dream interpretation, and the essential
differences between Jung and Freud—is smoothly intermixed with vivid
anecdotes, entertaining digressions, and a disarming willingness to risk
everything in the course of a revealing personal narrative.
Life” plumbs the depth of dreams—conceptually, biologically, and as the
nursery of our most meaningful metaphors—as it considers dreams and
dreaming every whichway: from the haruspicy of the Roman Empire to
contemporary sleep and dream science, from the way birds dream to the
way babies do, from our longing to tell them to the reasons we wish
other people wouldn’t.
Things” recounts a journey of mother and daughter—a Holmes-and-Watson
pair intrepidly working their way through the mysteries of a disorder
known as Alice in Wonderland Syndrome—even as it restlessly detours into
the world beyond the looking glass of the unconscious itself. In essays
that constantly offer layers of surprises and ever-deeper insights, the
author turns a powerful lens on the relationships that make up a
family, on expertise and unsatisfying diagnoses, on science and art and
the pleasures of contemplation and inquiry—and on our fears, regrets,
hopes, and (of course) dreams.
What Elaine Says: A short review for a short little book. This is a quietly beautiful and quirky little book. Divided into two distinct these are pretty much extended essays that read in a somewhat 'stream of consciousness' manner (Dreamlife in particular).
"Dream Life" takes an indepth look at the authors dreams and subsequent interpretation. It's actually quite funny at moments but I did feel the style starting to wear a little thin by the end.
"Seeing Things" is fabulously off beat and definitely my favourite part of the book. A strange and quirky examination of relationships within a family with an examination of art and science chucked in.
Enjoyable, intriguing, a little touching and quite amusing I liked this book quite a lot. Herman has produced something completely different than the norm and managed to make it charming in the process.
Elaine's Rating: 6/10