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Silverman, M.A. (2004). With a Woman's Voice: A Writer's Struggle for Emotional Freedom. By Lucy Daniels, Ph.D. Laham, MD: Madison Books, 2001. 320 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 73(3):852-861.

(2004). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 73(3):852-861

With a Woman's Voice: A Writer's Struggle for Emotional Freedom. By Lucy Daniels, Ph.D. Laham, MD: Madison Books, 2001. 320 pp.

Review by:
Martin A. Silverman

What better way is there to begin than by listening to Lucy Daniels's own voice?

I could see that the most powerful thing of all was words … my wish was to become so capable with words that people would not only listen to me, but have to, the way they did with Father and Grandfather. [p. 29]

Much is contained in this brief passage. Lucy's father and grandfather did indeed have a way with words. Editors of one of the most influential newspapers in the country, they exerted a powerful impact on the world around them via the editorials they wrote. As far as Little Lucy (as she was known in her family) was concerned, however, their words were to be admired and appreciated, but they also were to be feared. Her father and grandfather were self-centered, aloof, and imperious. They also were capable of erupting into gigantic, terrifying outbursts. They were far from being warm and cuddly.

Her father in particular had a knack for using words to inflict pain and injury:

Father had a way of saying things that was pleasing and confusingly painful at once. To me as a preschooler, for instance, he sometimes said, “Lucy, you are a sexless highbrow. All brains and no feelings.” “Sex” and “highbrow” were words I didn't understand, but … I doubt Father knew the destructiveness of his words. [pp. 15-16]

Her mother, Big Lucy, even more, was someone to be feared. She was cold, distant, unloving, and obsessed with order and cleanliness. Above all, she was preoccupied with protecting her position as the haughty, aristocratic, grand dame of North Carolina society.

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