Book Review: “Our love of stories is as old as humanity, and for good reason, according to a brilliant young scholar/scientist named Jonathan Gottschall (The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall, Houghton Mifflin, 272 pages. Hardcover or digital, $24.). It’s one of the things that makes us human. Stories allow us to share experiences across generations and teach us how to live properly. Stories are the original ‘virtual-reality’ technology, enabling human beings whether around an ancient campfire or grouped in a prehistoric cave, to learn the way the world works from the safe distance of secondhand narrative. The long-lost story of the first caveman to walk into a lion’s den probably saved untold numbers of lives and may have been the first blockbuster story ever.” P. 20.
Quote: “This is a wonderful book, filled with science (especially neuroscience and evolutionary theory) about the primal appeal of story. Our love of story is what makes us human. ‘Until the day we die,’ Gottschall concludes, ‘we are living the story of our lives. And like a novel in process, our life stories are always changing and evolving, being edited, rewritten, and embellished by an unreliable narrator. We are, in large part, our personal stories.’ Little wonder that we seek to share our stories with others: Our brains are hard-wired to construct and absorb stories This provocative and brilliantly accessible book shows us how and why we’ve always been story telling animals.” P. 21.
Comment: Your students may be interested in these two quotes when questioning the value of literature. And in the book itself. RayS.
Title: “A Provocative Book Delves Into the Science Behind Storytelling.” Chuck Leddy. The Writer (June 2012), 20-21.