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Genie: An Abused Child's Flight from Silence Hardcover – Mar 4 1993


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada / Non-Fiction (March 4 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060169109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060169107
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #648,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
Sometime in the late seventh century B.C., it occurred to Psamtik I, the first of the Saitic kings of Egypt, to wonder which might be the original language of the world. Read the first page
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Emily Zimmerman on March 9 2003
Format: Paperback
Gee, I wish I could write a book this good, and I wish all books written were this good. The "afterword" is not to be missed -- Mr. Rymer describes his process of writing the book, and how he, the scientists he interviewed, and most everyone who tried to "understand" Genie, all ended up understanding themselves in some humbling or transformative way. So did I.
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By Amy on June 9 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a must read for anyone interested in linguistics or child development; however, it is sufficiently interesting and readable for the general population. The tragedy the title refers to is that Genie was a child exploited by the scientific world as she was treated as a case study of language acquisition rather than an abused child desperately in need of supportive therapy. Genie never got the help she needed, and ended up with "soul sickness" in a home for mentally retarded adults. This is a very moving story that will make you think about morality in research and science.
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Format: Hardcover
A well written account of a tragic life and doctors seeking fame and fortune from it. It is a shame that we don't know how Genie is doing currently.
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By Peter F. Stubbs on July 21 2002
Format: Paperback
I don't have a lot to say that the other reviews haven't addressed, so I'll keep it short.
This is a book about such lofty subjects as neurolinguistics and scientific ethics, yet it remains wonderfully readable to the average (but curious) person. It's a fascinating story (see the other reviews), but Rymer's real achievement here is rendering what could have been dry scientific data interspersed with horrific tales of abuse into a book that at no time exploits its subject for cheap sentimentality. We care about "Genie" because her shot at normal life was twice aborted, not because Rymer simply wants us to.
Recommended to any curious mind.
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By Rivkah Maccaby on Nov. 24 2001
Format: Paperback
I have worked as an American Sign Language interpreter, and I am also a qualified behavior specialist. I currently work with autistic teenagers in developing community living skills. I have also worked with adults who have grown up in institutions, and have an array of "institutionalized" behaviors. Thus they have become severely impaired in their daily function, when they might have been habilitated to live independently. No matter how many times I see these situations, each one breaks my heart.
So I have more than a passing interest in the subject of this book.
That parents could strap a child to a chair and provide her no social interaction for thirteen years, with no one knowing boggles the mind. The whole family is a tragedy.
Russ Rymer documents Genie's habilitation after she is discovered, and freed from this captivity. She is more than a tragedy to some people, because she is also a scientific curiosity; she presents an opportunity to study a person who, deprived of social contact past the "critical point" in language development, never develops language skills beyond the semantic level.
Everyone wants a piece of her. Linguists want her, social psychologists want her, developmental psychologists want her; each with a different agenda. As for Genie, it is difficult to fathom what she wants. In the immediate present, she has remarkable non-linguistic communicative skills which she seems to possess intuitively. But what are her hopes, her desires for a permanent living arrangement, an education, she can't communicate, or even correctly understand.
It's no good to assume that she would want what a normal child wants. She doesn't respond to affection, doesn't appear to discriminate between people and objects at first.
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