The Baby in the Mirror: A Child's World from Birth to Three

Charles Fernyhough

The Baby in the Mirror: A Child's World from Birth to Three

For Charles Fernyhough, the birth of his daughter Athena was an opportunity to re-evaluate much of what he had learned as a lecturer and researcher in developmental psychology. Drawing on the detailed notes he kept on her development, Fernyhough uses Athena's story as an entry point into an account of how a child's mind develops before the age of three. Unlike dry childcare manuals, or patronising TV tie-ins, this book taps into a parent's wonder at the processes of psychological development in an engaging, child-centred way. 4.0 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
The Baby in the Mirror: A Child's World from Birth to Three

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Psychology & Psychiatry
Format Paperback
Pages 288
RRP £12.99
Date of Publication May 2008
ISBN 978-1847080073
Publisher Granta
 

For Charles Fernyhough, the birth of his daughter Athena was an opportunity to re-evaluate much of what he had learned as a lecturer and researcher in developmental psychology. Drawing on the detailed notes he kept on her development, Fernyhough uses Athena's story as an entry point into an account of how a child's mind develops before the age of three. Unlike dry childcare manuals, or patronising TV tie-ins, this book taps into a parent's wonder at the processes of psychological development in an engaging, child-centred way.

Reviews

The Scotsman

Paul Riddell

Nowhere on the bookstore shelves marked "baby" that fatherhood brings intimate acquaintance with have I seen a work offering something a little bit deeper. Until now. Charles Fernyhough is a developmental psychologist, novelist and father of a daughter, Athena. Here, he has deployed the skills learned and honed in all three jobs to produce a tender, beautifully written account that I now keep by my bedside... Fernyhough provides an accessible, jargon-free guide to the basis and development of language, consciousness and autonomy. His touchstone is Athena, at first the unwitting subject of the book but latterly a fascinated participant – and in a few years' time most probably an embarrassed teenager... a book that takes the reader right to the heart of how we become human and how we deal with it.

28/06/2008

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The Financial Times

Andrew Miller

For the lay reader, less than confident about the difference between the thalamus and the neocortex, some sections of the book may feel unprofitably technical. But Fernyhough writes with such confidence and élan that we are never left floundering for long... Do we get any closer to the experience of being a very young child? The answer is probably no, but that, perhaps, was not the point, and the book remains an ambitious and highly intelligent piece of work... Any parent, particularly one with a young child, will be both moved and enlightened by it.

15/04/2009

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The Guardian

Rebecca Abrams

I couldn't help wondering what effect it might have on a child to be quite so closely observed. In the end, though, the child holds the trump card: Fernyhough chronicles the unsettling sensation of having to recognise his child's increasing separateness, her fiercely guarded ability to remain unknown, her uniquely human capacity to invent herself... this is not simply a book about the daughter, but about the father and about the evolution of their relationship.

14/06/2008

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The Daily Telegraph

Simon Ings

With only words to work with, Fernyhough cannot recreate his daughter's world. It is an impossible task. But he trusts to his abilities as a writer ('fiction-making', he suggests, 'has more than a little of science about it'), and he does it anyway. Good for him: his book is both a triumph of informed imagination and a startling testament of love.

23/05/2008

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The Daily Telegraph

Louise Carpenter

It takes a writer as graceful, thoughtful and intelligent as Fernyhough to carry off this retelling. In bringing his growing daughter to life for us, though, he seems both to indulge and criticise the book's inherent weakness, which is the weight of his own projections and subjectivity... The Baby in the Mirror is what Fernyhough calls "my own partial, skew-eyed telling." But he still thinks it a valid narrative: "It's her word against mine, her story against my story. The point is, there's a story."

23/05/2008

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