...[an] absorbing and edifying corrective ... Saltman tells two separate stories here: One is her personal journey as a mother, the other the story of the science of attachment. But the narratives are also deeply intertwined. How could it be otherwise when her drive to understand attachment is fueled by her desire to settle her doubts about her maternal instincts and capabilities? ... All these worries carry echoes of the ingrained but unreachable, perfectionistic standards of motherhood so many of us carry. But Saltman’s refrain of self-reproach can grow tedious, as can her tendency to invoke Zen philosophy ... By contrast, her research enlivens her ... Saltman is at her best in her chapters on Ainsworth and the development of attachment theory. Yet she can go overboard in her identification with Ainsworth, venerating her as an idealized mentor and mother figure ... Fortunately, for the most part Saltman remains securely attached to her material and to the science itself. Of that, Ainsworth would have surely approved.
This is a unique and thoughtful book—part memoir, part social science, part biography of Ainsworth and part self-help. Readers who are battling their own demons as parents may feel grateful for Ms. Saltman’s unsparing account of herself.
Saltman, a journalist and researcher, debuts with a fascinating deep dive into attachment theory ... Carefully researched and with copious endnotes, this is an excellent resource for anyone interested in child development.