Too Scared to Cry: Psychic Trauma in Childhood

Lenore Terr, Author
Lenore Terr, Author HarperCollins Publishers $23 (372p) ISBN 978-0-06-016335-8
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
Terr, child psychiatrist at the University of California School of Medicine in San Francisco, explores the dire effects of childhood trauma, defined here as ``a single overwhelming experience or a series of overwhelming ordeals.'' She focuses on the 1976 abduction of a group of children in Chowchilla, a California farm town, who were seized from a bus as they were returning from day camp. The author, who interviewed the victims soon after their release from the abandoned rock quarry where they were buried, and who continues to make periodic assessments of the children, analyzes their attendant losses in cognitive and emotive function. Expanding on her Chowchilla research, Terr discusses post-traumatic behavior patterns she discerns in the works of writers such as Poe, Hawthorne and Stephen King, and in the films of Ingmar Bergman. Written in an anecdotal format, the book is penetrating and illuminating. (May)
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