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It’s Time to Give Up Your Pacifier (2008): Pre-Lit Pop Psych

Lawrence E. Shapiro, It’s Time to Give Up Your Pacifier (Instant Help Books, 2008)


photo credit: Barnes and Noble

An alternate solution: give it to the puppy.

If you’ve been reading my reviews for any length of time, you know how I feel about message media. (If you haven’t, the very short answer is that if you’re an aspiring writer, I will simply tell you “that way lies madness”. There are maybe two dozen people in the world who do message fiction right, and you ain’t one of them.) I knew when I started reading books for the pre-lit set again, even before my son (who will be two next month) was born, that I was going to run up against that sort of thing eventually. And for the most part, I’m willing to cut pre-lit books a little more slack in that regard, but not much; there’s a fine line between didacticism and talking down to one’s audience. Hell, that line’s fine enough that I’ve heard more than one pundit use “didactic” as a synonym for talking down. But there’s talking down and then there’s It’s Time to Give Up Your Pacifier. Which isn’t exactly the same thing; it’s a weird cross-breed of didacticism and pop psychology that I don’t actually have a word for. The language Shapiro uses in addressing the problem is that odd blend that feels and sounds almost, but not quite, straightforward, but when you look a little closer, you’re never quite sure exactly what the guy is saying (unless, presumably, you’re another psychologist). On one hand, it addresses a real problem in a way different than any other book we’ve picked up on the subject. On the other hand, I feel like a fraud reading it to the Bean, and he makes a face at some of the language. You know how they sometimes say (and not nearly often enough) that the one audience you can’t bullshit is kids? Here’s hard evidence. **

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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