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on 20 April 2008
It's a shame that Ms James felt she should to author a book that she is unqualified to write. "Author, Journalist and Magazine editor" (from the book itself) Laura James should stick to subjects she knows something about, and leave psychology and psychiatry to those of us who are actually qualified to write about it.

Her ludicrous misunderstanding of even the most basic psychiatric concepts would be laughable if they weren't so potentially damaging. Her notions of the characters here being 'ill' are nonsense, and show that she does not understand that psychopathology is culturally situated. Winnie the Pooh lives well in his space and culture, with a house, good friends, enough food etc. He is happy and has a fulfilling life. Drug and behavior therapy (as she suggests) would not be indicated, and the very notion that they would is repugnant.

I think Ms James has misunderstood the purpose of psychology and psychiatry. It is not to indoctrinate, and failing that to drug, everyone into some bland conformity, but rather to relieve distress. Her 'case studies' demonstrate her simple misunderstanding of this basic point.

I was further distressed to note that she has also failed to research her source material sufficiently. Winnie the Pooh's songs do not "Cause distress to his friends and neighbors" (p.49) rather they are often pleased by them and request them to mark special occasions. The whole book is replete with these kinds of errors of fact, which makes her laughable interpretations all the more ludicrous.

What concerns me most is that some people will understandably buy this book in the belief that the contents are an accessible introduction to a series of facts. They are not. Consequently, I shall not be recommending it in my own practice. I urge you instead to buy one of the many quality introductory works available that are written by people who have some basic knowledge of (and qualification in) the subject.
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on 21 March 2009
The concept for this book was a very good one, and I was looking forward to reading it on the basis that it would be insightful and entertaining. Having read it I would still say that it is an entertaining read, however I find the justification for the book to be weakened having read it. I get the feeling that the amount of material available is not sufficient to justify a book. Rather, this would be an interesting article in a newspaper's weekend magazine. Therefore I wonder whether the author and publishers decided to string out the concept for long enough to make it into a book, in the hope that that would benefit them better. Towards the latter stages the book I was left with the feeling that the remainder of the book would provide nothing new.

Now to focus on the positive aspects of the book, it is initially very entertaining and well-written. It is accessible to those without a detailed knowledge of psychotherapy/psychology. The book clearly explains that there are some characters in children's books who have identifiable disorders, but I was also left with the feeling that some of the characters analysed had no real disorder at all, and that their strange behaviour was merely a necessary behavioural exaggeration to make the meaning clear to the target audience of the original book i.e. children. Therefore I was left with the overall feeling that the book was based on a good concept but did not have enough material to justify itself, and would really have been better as a magazine feature article. Since no such article exists I'm uncertain whether this means I should recommend the book but suggest only reading the first half, or advise readers to look elsewhere.
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on 3 October 2007
There was a girl I remember in my early years at high school who had a peculiar but highly effective way of securing attention from boys she fancied. She would attend many of our home rugby matches and, at some point during the first half (presumably because she reasoned the players might be less muddy at this stage of the game) she would feign illness on the touchline and, with great flourish, pretend to faint, falling to the ground in a heap. Those among us not familiar with her antics - including most of the opposition team - would, on seeing the fuss being made of her, rush to her aid. Despite her plight, she would nevertheless have the presence of mind then to slip a piece of paper with her phone number on to the wing-back or prop forward she had most taken a shine to. So many years later, this book has shed considerable light for me on what might have prompted her to behave in this way; perhaps she had grown up listening to and then reading fairy tales and children's fiction in which the heroine (needy and hapless) would invariably be rescued by a dashing prince. The subliminal messages in seemingly harmless prose might in some way have helped create in her a need to adopt a position of helplessness in the belief that this was the surest way to secure the attention she so desperately craved. It's insights like this that this book - clear, revealing, entertaining and, at times, amusing - is wonderful for. It makes the reader re-examine the underlying messages in the books many of us would consider childhood staples and I would recommend it thoroughly. PS: I heard a few weeks ago via an email from an old friend that the girl in question (let's call her Penny) was happily married to a doctor in Sunderland.
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on 2 October 2007
I really loved this delightfully insightful book. Ms James gently dissects our favourite character's personalities, laying bare their psychological strengths and weaknesses, with a delicate infectious humour. This is a book that I shall read again and again.
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on 3 January 2009
I am an American 12-year-old, but my father brought this book back from London on a business trip. When I first saw it the title struck me as quite interesting. This book is simultaneously highly entertaining, intelligent, and insightful. When I first opened the book I was given a new understanding of the characters that, as a child, I thought I had known. I would highly recommend this book to adults and children alike.
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on 15 October 2007
Having heard Chris Evans say on his show that he's tkaing this book on his honeymoon, I decided to check it out. I found the individual case studies really funny, it made me laugh out lould. On a more serious note the book also makes the subject of mental illness a lot more accessible, without downplaying it.
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on 19 August 2014
Thank you for the book. Very fast delivery and good quality. Highly recommended.
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on 10 October 2007
Was reminded by todays Guardian article that I wanted to say how unpleasant this book is and how well it feeds the narcissism of those who would believe every eccentricity is something of which we can be cured. Yet another reason why the job title clinical psychologist should in so many cases be amended to psychological pathologist.

Have only rated it 1 star because it isn't possible to put a health warning or skull and crossbones.
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on 11 October 2007
what a superb idea and a great way to deal with some important issues in an interesting and approachable way. It probably isnt going to become the standard text book for the British Psychological Society but somehow I dont think that was the intention.
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on 7 November 2015
excellent book especially for Phycology graduates
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