Any woman reading The Girl Within will have the extraordinary experience of self-discovery as she finds in this collection of women's life stories the playful, purposeful, self-possessed girl of her childhood. Author Emily Hancock claims that this self-possessed girl -- a girl who knows who she is and what she's about -- is a resource for contemporary women. Dr. Hancock concludes, however, that a female easily loses sight of who and what she really is beneath the feminine facade she adopts in youth -- simply through the process of growing up female.
The women Hancock interviewed reclaim the forgotten girl. They trace not just one but a variety of paths back to her. In a series of first-person accounts that read like marvelous mini-novels, Hancock elucidates the vicissitudes of losing and refinding the essential self. From the story of Katherine, a pediatrician whose grandmother hosted musical salons, to that of Jo, whose father put bootblack on her white socks when her toes poked through her black shoes, the girl who harbors a female's original identity reappears again and again. Women who reached back to catch hold of a girl they could rely on to found in the girl a source of womanly strength. Through engrossing life stories, psychologist Hancock provides the female reader one self-realization after another as she clarifies the girl's image and shows how important it is to recapture her.
Like Gail Sheehy's Passages and Maggie Scarf's Unfinished Business, Hancock's is a landmark book. Written in a style as lucid as it is lively, it gives the intelligent reader -- man and woman alike -- an invaluable understanding of the forces at work in women's psychology. The Girl Within offers a natural, female model of identity development that starts with the girl and circles back to her. In a study that is destined to have a profound impact, Hancock shows just how the girl begets the woman.
This is a used copy in good condition with some wear throughout, including yellowing to the pages.
By Emily Hancock. Paperback. 227 pages. Published by Dutton Books, 1989.