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Jong, A. (1989). The Subtle Seductions. How to be a "Good Enough" Parent: By Gertrude Blanck, Ph.D. Northvale, NJ/London: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1987. 182 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 58:298-301.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:298-301

The Subtle Seductions. How to be a "Good Enough" Parent: By Gertrude Blanck, Ph.D. Northvale, NJ/London: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1987. 182 pp.

Review by:
Allan Jong

Known and respected for her many contributions to the scientific literature on ego psychology, Gertrude Blanck has written this book for a different audience: it is primarily for parents and caregivers of children. The book has little new to offer analytic readers, unless they are parents of children and adolescents. Then it might help them become more aware of some of their preconscious attitudes, behaviors, and fantasies regarding their children.

In the introduction, Blanck states that the book tries to be more than a popular "how to" book despite the subtitle. The main title, The Subtle Seductions, is a seduction itself, in that it is used to lure or entice the would-be reader to read the book. The term denotes a way of relating, the interaction between parent and child. There are "good" seductions despite the more general usage that indicates that seductions are "bad." She states that other interchangeable terms for actions that "seduce" the child's interest in life are "elicit, entice, lure, or stimulate." She prefers her term because she feels it provides a greater connotation of mutuality than the others. The problem is how much "seduction" is just right, how much is too little, and how much is too much.

Unfortunately, Blanck's jarring style detracts from the message of the book. She makes bold, sweeping statements that are frequently provocative. At the same time, she presents clinical evidence for them, to many of which I subscribe, although not to all.

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