Before examining the book's content I believe it is important to state that in my opinion this book would be a far easier read for those with some background knowledge of John Bowlby's attachment theory or at least prior reading on the subject of parent-child relationships.
Obviously I am speaking from my own level of intelligence, (not too intelligent but an avid reader) I should imagine that there are many parents and lay people who would enjoy reading this book without the above prerequisites.
For maybe the first third of the book I found it quite heavy going because the focus is upon the development of the child's brain in relation to certain types of parenting.
Therefore, there is a lot of exploration into the structure of the brain and how certain parts such as the Hypocampus and Hypothalamus work in conjunction with other parts such as neurotransmitters like serotonin and cortisol. Initially the book seemed quite cold and technical.
Moving on, the book goes on to provide strong evidence for the work of John Bowlby and Attachment theory, illustrating how neglectful, emotionally ambivalent and emotionally distant parenting styles create brain structures and chemical imbalances that leave children prone to rage, aggression, hyper tension, violence, depression and addiction in adulthood.
At times I found the book disturbing when considering how many children are disadvantaged in this way, especially considering the problems they face in later life.
On the other hand this book is of huge importance to the lay person, professionals, policy makers and most particularly anyone who has or plans to have children.
The prominent message here is that a great many if not all of our social ills, war, violence, addiction, crime and murder (to mention but a few) are the consequences of unresponsive and abusive parenting.
Undoubtedly many parents may feel defensive reading this book, but I would defy anyone to offer a scientifically sound counter argument to the evidence presented within it. Also it is worth noting that the main thrust of the book is not to establish blame, but to throw light on what was previously unknown so that we may eradicate these needlessly destructive patterns.
The bottom line is that this book has huge potential to effect massive social change. In seeing how these maladaptive attachment and parenting styles lead to first personal problems and then serious social ones, we have the solution to making changes for the future of our children and theirs in turn.
Overall this book is a humanistic subject approached from a scientific perspective. Make no mistake this book is one of the most important I have and ever will read. Without a doubt it will also be the same for anyone reading the book.
Finally, in addition to being highly informative, it is also optimistic in pointing out that change is not impossible, but prevention is the key to a better society and a better world.