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Molly Moon's Incredible Book of HypnotismReview - Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism
by Georgia Byng
Harper Childrens Audio, 2003
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D.
Jun 30th 2004 (Volume 8, Issue 27)

It is a surprise to find that Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism is more than just a funny story about an orphan who learns how to hypnotize people. It turns out to be a profoundly moral children's story about exploitation, character, and learning to care for people. Molly Moon lives at Hardwick House, an orphanage in a small British town, run by horrible women. Nearly everyone is nasty to Molly, and she wishes she could fly away. Her only real friend is Rocky, another orphan, and even he seems to be getting annoyed with her for getting into trouble all the time. But she discovers a book on hypnotism at the local library, and she finds a way to get away from Hardwick House and she ends up in New York City. She stars in a musical and robs a bank, all through the power of hypnotism. She has to find a way to thwart the dastardly plans of Professor Nockman, who wants to get his hands on the hypnotism book for his own nefarious purposes. Readers will be glad to know that Molly survives and learns some valuable lessons.

Georgia Byng's writing resembles Roald Dahl's fiction for children in both its fantastic imagination and the depth of human cruelty it portrays. What's more, it acknowledges the satisfaction of vengeance. Molly gives instructions to the hypnotized cook at Hardwick House to make the meals of the children who are nasty to her very spicy, and the hateful Miss Adderstone stands on the stage at the local talent contest wearing her pink frilly nightie and rubber boots, with a bra on her head and her false teeth hung on a string round her neck. Molly starts to realize though that sometimes in using her hypnotic powers, she may be going too far, and she has the capacity to really hurt people. Even when she is helping people, it might not be right to use hypnotism because it involves deception. She also realizes that the advertising she so enjoys for Cube soda uses similar methods to hypnotism, and it is equally deceptive. But maybe the most striking point in the book is when Molly and her friend Rocky discuss whether one of the villains is truly nasty all the way through or whether he became like that because of how he was treated as a child. They decide to be compassionate and give him a chance to become a better person. While their methods of moral education are unorthodox, they are also hilarious.

Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism is very enjoyable; a great book for parents and children to enjoy together. Highly recommended.

 

2004 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.

 

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Review.  His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.


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