Tag Archives: child development

The Science of Consequences

The Science of Consequences: How They Affect Genes, Change the Brain, and Impact Our World by Susan M. Schneider (Prometheus Books, $21.00, 383 pages)

Consequences motivate: Newborns work to hear their mother’s voices. Toddlers graduate to turning lights on and off for that lovely, surprising feeling of control.


The title of this book proclaims that much information will be gained by the reader – and how! My review copy is festooned with flags marking the three main components: Part I, Consequences and How Nature – Nurture Really Works; Part II, There’s a Science of Consequences?; and Part III, Shaping Destinies.

Consequences shape our choices, and our choices shape us and our societies.

Susan M. Schneider is a biopsychologist whose expertise in nature-nurture relations and the principles of learning from consequences has garnered an international reputation. While Ms. Schneider has the ability to provide detailed and esoteric writing on her favorite subject, she proves that she is capable of presenting the same information in a specific and detailed way that is user-friendly for a curious reader.

The Science of Consequences falls somewhere midway on a scale that would measure pop culture on one end and scientific literature on the other. Charming illustrations lend a human and grounding touch to the text. Ms. Schneider uses personal references that soften the somewhat text book denseness of her work. Her references to past and future paragraphs tend to point up the casual approach that this reader took in reading the book. It’s a bit unsettling to consciously accept that a review reading is not prompted by a personal need. Regardless, the flow and logical elements separating the basic concepts being presented make for a comfortable reading experience.

Rest assured that a reader who seeks out this book for its subject matter and relevance to personal interests will certainly benefit from using it as a guide. The extensive chapter notes, bibliography and index all support the material being presented.

Well recommended.

Ruta Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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Room: A Novel

Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue (Little,Brown; $24.99; 336 pages)

The Soul selects her own Society – Then – shuts the door.

Jack could be assumed to be a typical 5-year-old boy being homeschooled by his mother and engaging in similar activities as his peers (watching TV, reading, art).   However, Jack’s entire existence revolves around the life created by his abducted mother in an 11 X 11 room created for the sole purpose of keeping their existence a secret.

Told from Jack’s point of view, the story unfolds portraying realistic outcomes that create the illusion of a non-fiction novel.   You will root for Jack and his ‘Ma’ to escape the confines of their prison-like life with despicable “Old Nick” and enter the real world (outer space) for a chance to live a “normal” life.

Before I didn’t even know to be mad that we can’t open Door, my head was too small to have Outside in it.   When I was a little kid I thought like a little kid, but now I’m five I know everything.

You will be enchanted by the endearing dedication provided by Jack’s mother as she recalls the details of her own childhood in order to create an atmosphere where Jack can survive and strive within the limits of Room.   This is a wonderful life-affirming portrayal of the strength of a mother’s love for her son.   It is a force which can survive under even the worst of circumstances.


This review was written by Kelly Monson.   The book was purchased by the reviewer.   Room, the seventh novel from Donoghue, was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize of 2010.

“Potent, darkly beautiful, and revelatory.”   Michael Cunningham


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