The Enigma of Childhood, by Ronnie Solan

I had no idea so much time had elapsed since I wrote my last post, as I sometimes consider potential topics while away from the office, for example when taking a walk on the beach. I guess most never make it to cyberspace.

Finally, a pressing matter has presented itself–the publication of The Enigma of Childhood, Ronnie Solan’s much-awaited book.  Although its Hebrew precursor was published in Israel in 2007, Karnac have just published it in London, and tomorrow, while still ‘hot off the press’, will be sending us our first copies– Ronnie and me, her scientific editor (and, I like to think, her staunch friend). We have known each other since the late eighties, when I took a memorable course with her, as part of the Psychotherapy program at TAU’s Sackler School of Medicine (Continuing Education), and later on translated an article of hers. For the past two or three years and until its publication, we worked together on Enigma.

Although you will find various reviews of Ronnie’s book on her personal website and author pages with Karnac, and others with online sellers such as Amazon, let me say, that, biased as I may be as scientific editor, it is definitely a worthwhile read. In my mind,  Enigma is a groundbreaking book, one that demystifies theoretical contributions from major works and goes on to forge a common language for the various strains of psychoanalysis.

What I particularly like about the way in which Enigma is written, is that it is intended for both a lay audience and professional “shrinks.” The reader may either delve right into professional intricacies, such as the differences between adaptation and defense mechanisms (a topic that personally, I find fascinating) or skip right to what, for him or her, may be ‘dessert’, e.g., heart-warming accounts of encounters between parents/grandparents and their progeny, therapists (the author) and patients (anonymized, of course). Like any good book, it may be savored slowly, or read more quickly and then revisited–it is complex enough to be read at various levels of meaning. I have read the manuscript countless times, and yet, each time I reread a passage, I seem to learn something new, or digest it in a fresh way. I believe such a reading experience speaks for itself.

I am including links to Ronnie’s introduction to her book, my book review, and the wonderful trailer she composed, which conveys a whiff of her seminal book.

A link to my review of Enigma: