Cutting, burning, branding, and bone-breaking are all types of self-injury, or the deliberate, non-suicidal destruction of one's own body tissue, a practice that emerged from obscurity in the 1990s and spread dramatically as a typical behavior among adolescents. Long considered a suicidal gesture,The Tender Cutargues instead that self-injury is often a coping mechanism, a form of teenage angst, An expression of group membership, and a type of rebellion, converting unbearable emotional pain into manageable physical pain.
This timely, important book is not an easy read. Although, according to the authors, "self-injury has existed for nearly all of recorded history," the quantum growth in the last 20 years of people, especially the young, engaging in self-cutting, burning, branding, scratching, picking at skin, reopening wounds, biting, hair pulling, and more supports the need for a comprehensive discussion about self-injury. Patricia A. Adler (sociology, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder) and Peter Adler (sociology & criminology, Univ. of Denver) present a clinical but compassionate scholarly treatment. While the recent use of cyberspace for "practitioners" of self-injury to communicate with each other about formerly very private behaviors now provides alarming evidence of this "cult youth phenomenon," it also offers the possibility for mutual support among practitioners and, perhaps, interventions by professionals and caring families. In their thorough treatment of the subject, the authors include a history and literature review of this difficult topic, discussions of case histories, and examinations of relational dynamics and social contexts that may lead to cutting. VERDICT While literary references and clinical terms may be beyond the average reader, this is a must-read for those connected in any way to this topic.-Ellen D. Gilbert, Princeton, NJ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
New York University Press
August 22, 2011
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.