The Attachment Effect: Exploring the Powerful Ways Our Earliest Bond Shapes Our Relationships and Lives

Peter Lovenheim. TarcherPerigee, $16 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-14-313242-4
Lovenheim (In the Neighborhood), a journalist and writing professor, brings together personal exploration and social analysis for a thoughtful but overly inward-focused look at the implications of attachment theory. Developed by British psychiatrist John Bowlby, it posits infants as “hardwired… to search for and attach to a competent, reliable caregiver,” with the success or failure of that endeavor having lifelong effects. Lovenheim describes first learning about the theory from an academic colleague and being inspired to undergo a diagnostic Adult Attachment Interview (and thus identifying his own anxious, as opposed to secure or avoidant, attachment style). Lovenheim is insightful if repetitive in chapters applying different attachment personality types to adult relationships, such as between best friends or romantic couples. However, Lovenheim’s account of experiencing a crisis in a section on attachment theory and religion wanders into self-indulgent territory, and the “10 Lessons of Attachment” given in the epilogue comes off as a half-hearted attempt to add a self-help component to the text. Lovenheim’s focus on himself as subject conveys less universality than seemingly intended and fails to connect the reader deeply to the author’s personal stake in an academic school of thought. Agent: Geri Thoma, Writers House. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2018
Release date: 06/05/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 978-957-658-239-4
Ebook - 978-0-525-50440-5
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