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Alma H. Bond, Ph.D
(Reviewed by The Editor-Rebecca Brown)
2002 Paragon House, St.
Book Review by RebeccasReads
of Psychology: Stories to Make You Wise — collected by the
author/editor over her life to which she has added her 40+ years of
Dr. Bond offers us 19 short stories from the obscure writer to the
Pulitzer Prize-winning author. Each story is a glimpse into the
conflicts we humans stumble upon & through. Sometimes we grasp
significance, & sometimes we stagger blithely on. At the end of each
story, Dr. Bond offers her insights into the psychological aspects of
the drama around which the authors & their Muse wrote their prose.
Tales of Psychology is a unique & fascinating collection of complex
& colorful fragments of literature accompanied by a psychologist’s
insights into the human emotional terrain each story illustrates, as
well as her occasional personal comments about how she was affected upon
reading the story.
From perhaps the most horrific of Dr. Bond’s choices — Paul
Bowles’ A Distant Episode — in which everyman’s
nightmare becomes real when a linguist is kidnapped, bound & then
has his tongue cut off. Both the story & Dr. Bond’s observations
leave an indelible impression.
To Alice Adams’ Roses, Rhododendron in which we get to relive those
teenage years when we are so hungry for someone/something to adore, to
melt into, to incorporate. Dr. Bonds insights here are diamond bright.
To Angelica Gibbs The Test which brings back memories, not of the
1940s about which it was written, rather of Chicago in the 1960s when I
was witness to such racial & gender intimidations.
Each story Dr. Bond has chosen for Tales of Psychology revolves around
the darker spectrum of emotions. Some stories offer redemption, others
don’t. Dr. Bonds observations & comments at each storys end, offer
us further insights about both the history of psychology, as well as
aspects we might not have noticed. Sometimes, I wished her comments had
I certainly did feel wiser after reading Tales of Psychology. With her
recapitulations & observations, Dr. Bond has breathed new life into
these remarkable literary snacks.
As Dr. Bond comments, the stories: ...should be required reading
for...” — everyone
interested in other ways to think about what we read.
Marudhan Critique Magazine
best way to begin one’s life is to begin it well. Like how the young
daughter, the protagonist of “
: The Young Woman Speaks” did. We gladly allow ourselves to share the
child’s blissful thoughts as she recalls the glorious trip from
with her charming parents. Her life would be nothing less than
But we can also foresee the futures of children who, unlike
, are denied parental love and guidance. The adverse effects of such an
upbringing are usually unpleasant, unhealthy and far from being normal.
In “Silent Snow, Secret Snow,” by Conrad Aiken, we discover much to
our horror the secret world of Paul, a young boy, who fancies an unreal
world which utters such strange things to him like ‘peace’,
‘remoteness’, ‘cold’, ‘sleep’ and ‘death’. Paul slowly
begins to withdraw from the real life finds asylum in his fantasy land.
Paul’s illness, Dr. Alma H. Bond says, is likely to culminate in
In “How to Win,” Christopher, a six-year-old boy suffers from
Intermittent Explosive Disorder; he surprises and shocks his mother by
his erratic behavior patterns. In “Teenage Wasteland,” Donny, a
“noisy, lazy, and disruptive” lad, simply runs away from his home,
leaving no significant clues to his troubled, puzzled parents. “Paul’s Case” by Willa Cather, Dr. Bond observes, is “a story
that has saved lives”. She recommends the tale to the depressed and
potentially suicidal patients. This deeply moving story shows how the
main character’s depression leads him to pay for his dream with his
life. The story brilliantly records how the disturbed mind of a deviant
thinks and works.
The opening story, “A Small Good Thing,” is a portrait of a
mother’s traumatic experience following her son’s fatal accident.
One story deals with the profound growth of relationship between a
father and a son. In another, we find a young would-be priest’s
instability of mind and his fear to face the truth. In "The Distant
Episode" we are introduced to a series of torturous treatments that
are inflicted upon a Professor. Dr. Bond calls them some of the most
horrible passages ever written in all literature.
Tales of Psychology is a wise and curious collection of many such
stories compiled by Dr. Alma H Bond, herself a practicing psychologist
and a writer. The stories are reflective in nature and are carefully
selected from diverse literary origins with the objective to enrich and
broaden our understanding of human behavior. The collection’s wisdom creates meaningful ripples in the reader’s
mind. Each story is followed by a crisp and scholarly analysis by Dr.
Bond, which highlights the plot’s psychological symbols. In search of
the nucleus of the stories, Dr. Bond analyses varied themes including
defense mechanisms, systematic lying, alcoholism, split personality
traits, mental retardation and sadomasochism.
“The stories”, Dr. Bond observes, “are selected for their insight
into human nature and [for] their merit as fine works of literature”.
The best part of the volume is its ability to encourage the reader to
explore serious works of psychology. Nothing could be more curious than
to learn about ourselves—how the mind works, how we control our
emotions, how we understand and act. For the same reason, psychology is
a complicated subject. It cannot be otherwise because it is about us.
A story that breathes life is incapable of death. It reverberates; it
haunts and disturbs the reader. Tales of Psychology belongs to this
select genre. It contains all the excellent qualities—extraordinary
observations, insightful remarks, moving passages and wonderful
lessons—necessary to make one be both attendant and gentle with life.
Review for Denise's Pieces and
Book Review by Michael Bogert
Tales Of Psychology
Short Stories To Make You Wise
Author: Alma H. Bond, Ph.D.
Publisher: Paragon House
Tales Of Psychology consists of 19 short stories written from the years
of World War II to the eighties. They all have lessons within them to
discover and learn, and is discussed at the end of each story. The main
themes deal with how people think and behave from a psychological
standpoint, in the hopes that those who read it will be able to identify
different behavior patterns of people they encounter in life. There is one word I can use to describe this book: Deep. It
isn't the type of book you buy for Aunt Jane or Cousin Fred, but for
those who really love to get 'into' their reading. It takes a person who
can dig into a book, and come out with more knowledge than when they
started. According to the introduction, those who read certain stories may actually change the way they think
about themselves or the way they live. The authors involved in this work
range from very well known to obscure, and as stated before span almost
a half-century of time.
I enjoyed most of the stories contained in the book, though I kept my
mind focused on the main issue, which was to see the different types of
behavior that manifested throughout each work. Each story was different not only in
author, but also in theme and content. This is one book you really have
to sink into and let it consume your reading time!
Of course, the professionalism of Dr. Bond is clearly evident in her
teachings and authorship. I'm sure her skills have healed many people,
and can now help them through this book.
I heartily recommend this book to those who seek a well-conceived idea
of teaching psychological issues through short stories and the lessons
Michael Bogert, Reviewer