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found the following review helpful:
and Well Meant, August 18, 2000 Reviewer:
(see more about me) from East coast
"The Kearney's present
an honest and heartfelt picture of their struggles to raise a
profoundly gifted child. Unfortunately, they proceed to make recommendations
based solely on their personal experience."
"They wrongly assume that
they are responsible for Michael's amazing mental development,
being unaware that there have been many others like him, and that
such prodigality is inborn. "
Connie, dear lady, where are you coming from?
They don't "wrongly assume" anything of the kind!!!
When I first talked with Kevin and Cassidy Kearney about their
experiences rearing Michael and Maeghan, I had gotten the idea
that maybe they had found some way to intervene shortly after
birth to produce not one but two prodigiously gifted children.
Kevin Kearney set me straight right away. He explained
that it may be possible to boost IQ a few points through environmental
intervention, but that in the large, Michael and Maeghan were
born and not made. The book explains that, like "Adam Konantovich",
Michael showed signs of precocious neurological development almost
from birth. The book emphasizes Michael's and Maeghan's "rage
to learn", and their hyperactivity if deprived of the opportunity
to learn. (This seems to me to be a common characteristic of profoundly
gifted adults. They have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and
for problem-solving. Please see Stephanie Tolan's superb, "Is It a Cheetah?").The
book emphasizes the way Kevin and Cassidy were driven by their
children's "addiction" to learning, or at least, that's
the way I read it.
With respect to Connie's assertion "that there have been
many others like him", I'd like to know more. According
to his mother, Sarah Mendelbaum Sidis, William Sidis was
not as precocious as Michael or Maeghan. Karl
Freidrich Gauss learned how to read somewhere between
two and three years of age. The only person of whom I ever heard
who rivalled Michael and Maeghan as a child was Merrill
Kenneth Wolfe. Ken Wolfe first burst upon the world in
the pages of Life Magazine in June, 1945, when he graduated from
Yale at the age of 14. He had said his first sentence at the age
of 6 months ("Put on another record"). His parents,
who were Russian-born lawyers, then began to work with him. He
finished his first-grade reader by the age of 12 months, and was
reading math and chemistry texts at 4. When he was 22 months,
his mother heard a piano rendition of "The Hungarian Rhapsody"
on the radio. Then she heard it again. Ken had remembered it,
and was playing it by ear. When Ken was six, he started public
school, where he was placed in the upper fifth grade the first
day. But after six weeks, he was withdrawn from school. His teachers
said that he asked too many questions and volunteered too many
answers. For the next four years, his parents home-schooled him
until he was 10, when he entered Western Reserve University. He
spent two years there and then transferred to Yale, graduating,
as mentioned above, at age 14.
I have heard several recent stories about children who matched
Michael's and Maeghan's early histories, and I've xpeculated that
this sudden spate of super-prodigies might be a partial consequence
of the Flynn Effect. Connie may be onto something here. There
may be many others like him, as she says (although I never heard
of them in the 40's and 50's). There's certainly no match for
Michael among the 31 cases described in Leta Hollingworth's "Children
Above 180 IQ". In his unpublished autobiography, Michael
has alluded to the idea there may be a flood of other prodigiously
gifted children in the offing. I've never heard any of the Kearneys,
including Michael and Maeghan, suggest that they're unique.
They also equate learning with intellectual
development and feel that by allowing Michael to learn as much
as he wants and as fast as he wants, they have fulfilled his intellectual
They also present their plan as the
ideal solution, offering no alternatives for parents who may want
something more substantive for their child than rushing through
the educational system.
This has been an extremely controversial
book in discussions among parents of profoundly gifted children.
Those who wish to allow intellectual, emotional, and physical
maturity a chance to develop in an integrated way are generally
highly critical. Parents who are eager to see their children move
as swiftly as possible through their schooling, possibly setting
records along the way, and saving themselves money as a side benefit
of college compaction, praise the book highly.
(To be completed)
I see it as an interesting personal
memoir that has become undeservedly influential.
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Not to be "cute" but how else should
one write a book about their own personal experience?