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Zabarenko, L.M. (1992). Memory in Mind and Brain: What Dream Imagery Reveals by Morton F. Reiser New York: Basic Books, 1990, xii + 218 pp., $27.95. Psa. Books, 3(4):602-607.
(1992). Psychoanalytic Books, 3(4):602-607
Memory in Mind and Brain: What Dream Imagery Reveals by Morton F. Reiser New York: Basic Books, 1990, xii + 218 pp., $27.95
Review by: Lucy M. Zabarenko, Ph.D.
For a reviewer eager to retain her standing as a card-carrying curmudgeon, this book is a menace. When a piece is the target for critiquing, I usually read it once carefully, noting salient features. Savoring, if there is to be any, is reserved for later, lest judgment be addled or the edge of crisp nastiness dulled. Alas, disarmed by Reiser and his gang of ideas, I was lured into the kind of thorough study that calls for prime time, outlining, and review. In brief, I fell in with evil, seductive companions and I had a wonderful time. Though this commentary was delayed as a result, the excursion was guilt free; seldom are such detours as much fun or as clearly edifying.
One of the most admirable things about Memory in Mind and Brain is Reiser's devotion to making sure that the reader stays with him and his argument. Displaying heroic patience, he scoops up your attention and ministers to your fatigue at every turn. Periodic reiterations are placed with a fine intuitive sense of when the text may have been put aside. This is dense material and often one must take time out to assimilate, digest, and evaluate the findings before placing them in personal cognitive hierarchies. Then there are the stories.
Of course, you don't need to be a talented raconteur to write an engaging book, but it helps. True, not all the vignettes are dead to the mark, and some are a bit precious, for example, “The one that didn't get away” (p. 125). But the tales purl through the text lightening and aerating it, and one has the feeling that each anecdote was carefully selected for its expositional power, and none were chosen carelessly or in a fit of self-indulgent whimsy.
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