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Jenkins, L. (2009). Broken Fathers/Broken Sons: A Psychoanalyst Remembers. By Gerald J. Gargiulo. New York: Rodopi, 2008, 150 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 96(5):860-868.

(2009). Psychoanalytic Review, 96(5):860-868

Broken Fathers/Broken Sons: A Psychoanalyst Remembers. By Gerald J. Gargiulo. New York: Rodopi, 2008, 150 pp.

Review by:
Lee Jenkins, Ph.D.

The subtitle is “A Psychoanalyst Remembers.” After reading this potent, poignant and moving, beautifully written memoir, we appreciate what the meaning is of the psychoanalytic idea of placing emphasis on remembering. This means trying to recapture the truth of the past experiences in their actual context, rather than act out distorted portions to preserve our own self justifying pictures of the past in order to vindicate our own sense of injury. What is it we must remember? The title is Broken Fathers, Broken Sons, a picture of the familial trauma of conflict over generations. What's presented is the pain of a particular consciousness struggling to come into being, so that we see an individualized version of the common experience of the effort to achieve the dignity of autonomous selfhood that we all can recognize.

Is there a particular virtue about the way a psychoanalyst remembers? As an individual he suffers; as a practitioner he knows the way memory is a “child of desire,” inevitably selective in any recall. The evocation and identification of the subjective element in Gargiulo's narrative of the past is a marvelous feature of this memoir.

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