This story about a little
girl who suffers such horrendous physical and psychological abuse at the hands
of her parents that, when she is finally
released from their care at the age of thirteen, she has no language and no social skills is definitely
a tragedy. That the scientific community then saw a chance to study
language from a number of previously impossible perspectives need not
have been a tragedy had the people behind all the research and
experimentation not lost sight of the fact that Genie was actually a
human being with very human needs.
The first part of the tragedy was
Genie's misfortune to have been born into a completely dysfunctional family; the second
part was the fact that those people who later assumed responsibility for
her physical, emotional and psychological well-being did not fully
understand her need to be able to bond with one caring human.
They were all focused on their research, and, somewhere between the
reams of tests and papers, they all lost sight of Genie; when they
finally realized that she was still there, it was too late.
RussRymer has woven together a desperately sad story with substantial
descriptions of scientific research into the origins of language, and
the result is extremely interesting, compelling and definitely
readable. It is impossible to read the book without questioning
oneself where the line goes between what is ethically acceptable and
what is not.