Beyond the Book: Background information when reading December

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

December by Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2008, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2009, 256 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

Print Review

Isabelle is not diagnosed in the book, but were she to be, she would probably be diagnosed with Selective Mutism, a childhood anxiety disorder. Some therapists might even diagnose her with Traumatic Mutism because of the immediate onset and her total silence. Most children with SM are not completely silent all the time. They are silent as a result of deep anxiety, but will talk normally when they are in 'safe' environments. Isabelle would be a rare case because she is completely silent for nine months.

Children with SM often have "severely inhibited temperaments" and are more prone to anxiety. When we become stressed, the amygdala (the brain's "emergency manager") responds to the potential crisis by overriding thought and instigating a reaction intended to protect the body. In children with SM, that reaction is silence. Fearful situations can be birthday parties, school, family gatherings, or routine errands. Many children with SM also have Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID), which means they have trouble processing sensory information. A child with SID may have trouble comprehending social cues, which can lead to anxiety and fear and, in some cases, silence.

Selective Mutism is treated using a variety of tactics: Behavioral therapy, play therapy, medication, self-esteem boosters (parents should emphasize their child's positive attributes), frequent socialization, school involvement, and family involvement. The ultimate goals being to decrease anxiety, and increase social confidence and self-esteem. As the child feels more comfortable and self-esteem builds, he/she should progress from nonverbal to verbal communications.

More information at the Selective Mutism Foundation.

This article was originally published in June 2008, and has been updated for the July 2009 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hunger
    Hunger
    by Roxane Gay
    In this penetrating and fearless memoir, author Roxane Gay discusses her battle with body acceptance...
  • Book Jacket: The Black Witch
    The Black Witch
    by Laurie Forest
    In The Black Witch, Laurie Forest introduces her readers to an immersive fantasy world where ...
  • Book Jacket: See What I Have Done
    See What I Have Done
    by Sarah Schmidt
    Sarah Schmidt's historical fictionalization of the Lizzie Borden story is a tsunami. From the ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt

Cruel Beautiful World examines the intricate, infinitesimal distance between seduction and love, loyalty and duty.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Heart's Invisible Furies
    by John Boyne

    A sweeping, heartfelt saga set in Ireland from the author of The Boy In the Striped Pajamas.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Hame

Hame by Annalena McAfee

A rich, sultry novel about a young American fleeing a crumbling marriage for a remote Scottish island.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A F Out O W

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.