March 3, 2011

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Quick Hits: Wire Mothers: Harry Harlow and the Science of Love

Written by Jim Ottaviani
Illustrated by Dylan Meconis
G-T Labs

[Editor's note: Since I just read another in this series recently, I thought it might be useful to feature this older review this week. Man, my reviews were so much shorter in 2007. -Rob]

I had absolutely no idea what this was about when I put it on hold, but it was new and a graphic novel, so I figured I'd give it a try.

This turns out to be a historical piece that explains how Harry Harlow came to introduce the concept of love into social science, at a time when (completely unknown to me) most scientists were refusing to accept the concept and were even going to far as to tell parents not to show any affection towards their child at all. Yikes!

The concept is handled well--we get a janitor to stand in as the narrative foil so Harlow can tell him all about himself and his work. It's totally a narrative ploy, but that's okay, it was better than the alternative--narrative boxes. Harlow walks us through how he came to be where he is, and they even let him dance around anything he's not comfortable with, as the real Harlow would have done.

I enjoyed this very basic overview of the subject, and while I don't plan to read more about Harlow, I would recommend it to anyone interested in social science or perhaps as a way to see if you want to read more. All in all, a nifty read.