Book Review: Genie| A Scientific Tragedy


After talking to one of my professors, I was allowed to borrow this book from his private collection.  I was inquiring about any current research into the affects of total isolation on people, particularly young children.  Genie does not experience quite what I was looking for, but the information contained within these pages does offer a scaffold to use for my own work in the Followers of Torments series.

While I would not read it again, I think I am grateful that I have read it once.  It presents a horrific tale of neglect by the parents, the scientific community, and most of the caretakers who volunteered to take on the task of helping a young girl adapt to what we call “civilized” society.  Beyond this point, I am copying what I posted on Goodreads about this book.  Mostly, because there isn’t really any other way I can think to say it.


This is not in my normal genre, however for research purposes I gladly started reading this. It was not what I expected, even with the warning I received from the lender before I got it.

Genie revolves around a young girl, “Genie”, who has suffered traumatic abuse and neglect as a young child. When she is discovered because her mother took her to an appointment at a local DHS office, the scientific community over reacts to the potential information they may discover about the human psyche. This is a tale of turf wars for Genie’s control with highlights of her progress and regressions. It is a tale of a young girl reaching out for love and caring attention, yet rarely receives it.

I chose to rate at 3 stars, because I will not need to re-read this book because the lessons contained between the covers stand in stark relief when I think about other children who are in Genie’s condition. This is one of those books that you read once, and remember for ever. It is told with a cold objective narrator, yet the care he feels towards Genie shows through despite his efforts. He also tries to remain objective of the personal scorn he feels towards the scientific community who failed this young girl so spectacularly.

It was a page turner, yet each page I read made me dread seeing what happened next. Especially once politics and egos wormed their way into the process of helping Genie try to adapt to what we call “normal”. An educational read, and something anyone seeking to enter the psychological or linguistic field should read.

Despite the unsettling read, I would rate this overall as a 4 out of 5 stars.  It is well written, and it does keep you turning the pages until you get to the end.  The missing star is because of the subject matter.  Great reference book, not a good fun read for me.


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