What My Bones Know - Stephanie Foo

What My Bones Know

By Stephanie Foo

  • Release Date: 2022-02-22
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4.5
From 83 Ratings


A searing memoir of reckoning and healing by acclaimed journalist Stephanie Foo, investigating the little-understood science behind complex PTSD and how it has shaped her life

“Achingly exquisite . . . providing real hope for those who long to heal.”—Lori Gottlieb, New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, NPR, Mashable, She Reads, Publishers Weekly

By age thirty, Stephanie Foo was successful on paper: She had her dream job as an award-winning radio producer at This American Life and a loving boyfriend. But behind her office door, she was having panic attacks and sobbing at her desk every morning. After years of questioning what was wrong with herself, she was diagnosed with complex PTSD—a condition that occurs when trauma happens continuously, over the course of years.

Both of Foo’s parents abandoned her when she was a teenager, after years of physical and verbal abuse and neglect. She thought she’d moved on, but her new diagnosis illuminated the way her past continued to threaten her health, relationships, and career. She found limited resources to help her, so Foo set out to heal herself, and to map her experiences onto the scarce literature about C-PTSD.

In this deeply personal and thoroughly researched account, Foo interviews scientists and psychologists and tries a variety of innovative therapies. She returns to her hometown of San Jose, California, to investigate the effects of immigrant trauma on the community, and she uncovers family secrets in the country of her birth, Malaysia, to learn how trauma can be inherited through generations. Ultimately, she discovers that you don’t move on from trauma—but you can learn to move with it.

Powerful, enlightening, and hopeful, What My Bones Know is a brave narrative that reckons with the hold of the past over the present, the mind over the body—and examines one woman’s ability to reclaim agency from her trauma.


  • Great book

    By jwatson26
    I loved this book. The insight. The emotion. The rawness. Highly recommend.
  • Horrifying and hopeful

    By Great Music Luvr
    An unexpected combination of memoir and reportage. Woo takes us from the depths of her childhood abuse to the heights of self-discovery and healing. A must-read for anyone whose life has been touched by C-PTSD
  • Incredible Insight

    By am33r
    Incredible insight for anyone struggling with trauma. It gives me hope.
  • Thank you

    By dayma_927702
    Stephanie, thanks for sharing your story and your healing journey. It takes so much courage to talk openly about the things that hurt us, to be so vulnerable, to let others see our pain. Some parts of this book are hard to read - I felt like I was holding my breath many times, I felt triggered, and I cried a lot. I also have C-PTSD and was diagnosed back in 2019 - but this is the kind of work we need to see other people doing, to know it's possible to “heal”. Again, thanks... For all the research, the resources shared, the book recs, and the hope.