Honey Dew Review | JANUARY 2023 | What My Bones Know

Honey Dew Review | JANUARY 2023 | What My Bones Know

What My Bones Know by Stephanie Foo is a powerful memoir about Foo's personal healing journey through the complex landscape of multi-dimensional trauma. It should be noted that this work comes with trigger warnings and includes descriptions of child abuse and suicidal ideation. 

Foo's book is both heartfelt and scientifically fascinating, both deeply personal and somehow also widely applicable. She begins by recounting her childhood, reminding the reader that if they can get through the hard parts they will find happiness in her story. Foo is the only child of Chinese immigrant parents from Malaysia and her childhood was riddled with physical and emotional abuse from both of her parents. Her abuse and trauma were compounded by cultural complexities and American racism towards Asian individuals, as well as her parent's ultimate abandonment. 

While this story is a personal healing journey, it is also full of relevant information for anyone who has experienced trauma, particularly those whose trauma was ongoing, complex, or multi-generational. Foo struggled to regulate her emotions, experienced long periods of sadness, and had a hard time with both friendships and love relationships. It was many years before she would receive a diagnosis of CPTSD and would realize in horror that trauma had colored every facet of her life. This is when Foo's conscious healing truly began. 

Don't be turned off by the specific focus on complex trauma, this story is relevant even for individuals with less clear-cut pain. Foo talks a lot about how she used work and achievement to disassociate from her feelings and pain. In a society that values success over nearly everything else, overwork is often praised, rather than viewed as a possible symptom of greater distress. Foo also discusses how ongoing, profound trauma can actually change the structure of DNA and these changes can be passed down to offspring for multiple generations. Racism and cultural-level dysfunction are also explored. A piece full to bursting with important information and raw autobiographical prose combined into a story so well written you can tell a career journalist held the pen. 

The Honey Dew Review gives What My Bones Know out of 5 stars. To see what our star ratings mean, see below:

⭐️ Not a book we recommend 
⭐️⭐️ Decent story/some good content, but lacking substance or writing skill 
⭐️⭐️⭐️ Well done; good quality writing or research, a worthwhile read
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Extremely well done; well written with excellent story/content
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Breakthrough work that stands out from the crowd, resulting in personal growth by the reader 

 

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