Paragon House, 2002
ISBN: 1-55778-806-5
The best way to begin one’s life is to begin it well. Like how the young daughter, the protagonist of “Verona: The Young Woman Speaks” did. We gladly allow ourselves to share the child’s blissful thoughts as she recalls the glorious trip from Rome to Salzburg with her charming parents. Her life would be nothing less than remarkable.
        But we can also foresee the futures of children who, unlike Verona, are denied parental love and guidance. The adverse effects of such an upbringing are usually unpleasant, unhealthy and far from being normal.
        In “Silent Snow, Secret Snow,” by Conrad Aiken, we discover much to our horror the secret world of Paul, a young boy, who fancies an unreal world which utters such strange things to him like ‘peace’, ‘remoteness’, ‘cold’, ‘sleep’ and ‘death’. Paul slowly begins to withdraw from the real life finds asylum in his fantasy land. Paul’s illness, Dr. Alma H. Bond says, is likely to culminate in schizophrenia.
        In “How to Win,” Christopher, a six-year-old boy suffers from Intermittent Explosive Disorder; he surprises and shocks his mother by his erratic behavior patterns. In “Teenage Wasteland,” Donny, a “noisy, lazy, and disruptive” lad, simply runs away from his home, leaving no significant clues to his troubled, puzzled parents.
        “Paul’s Case” by Willa Cather, Dr. Bond observes, is “a story that has saved lives”. She recommends the tale to the depressed and potentially suicidal patients. This deeply moving story shows how the main character’s depression leads him to pay for his dream with his life. The story brilliantly records how the disturbed mind of a deviant thinks and works.
        The opening story, “A Small Good Thing,” is a portrait of a mother’s traumatic experience following her son’s fatal accident. One story deals with the profound growth of relationship between a father and a son. In another, we find a young would-be priest’s instability of mind and his fear to face the truth. In "The Distant Episode" we are introduced to a series of torturous treatments that are inflicted upon a Professor. Dr. Bond calls them some of the most horrible passages ever written in all literature.
        Tales of Psychology is a wise and curious collection of many such stories compiled by Dr. Alma H Bond, herself a practicing psychologist and a writer. The stories are reflective in nature and are carefully selected from diverse literary origins with the objective to enrich and broaden our understanding of human behavior.
       The collection’s wisdom creates meaningful ripples in the reader’s mind. Each story is followed by a crisp and scholarly analysis by Dr. Bond, which highlights the plot’s psychological symbols. In search of the nucleus of the stories, Dr. Bond analyses varied themes including defense mechanisms, systematic lying, alcoholism, split personality traits, mental retardation and sadomasochism.
        “The stories”, Dr. Bond observes, “are selected for their insight into human nature and [for] their merit as fine works of literature”.
        The best part of the volume is its ability to encourage the reader to explore serious works of psychology. Nothing could be more curious than to learn about ourselves—how the mind works, how we control our emotions, how we understand and act. For the same reason, psychology is a complicated subject. It cannot be otherwise because it is about us.
        A story that breathes life is incapable of death. It reverberates; it haunts and disturbs the reader. Tales of Psychology belongs to this select genre. It contains all the excellent qualities—extraordinary observations, insightful remarks, moving passages and wonderful lessons—necessary to make one be both attendant and gentle with life.