Review: It Didn’t Start with You

It Didn't Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the CycleIt Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle by Mark Wolynn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

My therapist recommended this book as part of my ongoing EMDR work.

The good

I found the exercises in the book helpful in terms of placing words and phrases to what I’m working through. There’s never a time when that’s bad! ⁣⁣⁣⁣And the author’s explanations of how to frame those into a toolset that helps you better understand your problems were also good.⁣⁣⁣⁣

The bad

The writing about the science was dubious. It felt Gladwell-ian. (He’s notoriously slippery when it comes to explaining hard and social science to a general population.)⁣⁣⁣⁣ I spoke with some research scientists who said the author’s explanations of the hard science behind is work was…not exactly as advertised.⁣⁣⁣⁣


The book was okay, but not great. I was a technology journalist (Wired, MIT’s Technology Review) so I’m reluctant to recommend books that get the science wrong. But if you toss that aside, the written exercises offer some guidance for people working to understand and put into words traumas they are working through.⁣⁣⁣

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