Author: Lori Gottlieb
Source: from publisher for review
Summary: This memoir was a fascinating look at being a therapist and included many engaging, emotional stories.
Author Lori Gottlieb is an experienced therapist, but that doesn’t mean she never needs a therapist herself! After a surprising break-up leaves her sneaking in a good cry between patients, she realizes it’s time to talk to someone. This is the story of how she builds a helpful rapport with her therapist and of the patients she’s helping at the same time. From her perspective, we get to learn about both sides of the therapist-patient relationships, as well as some of the experiences and training that led her to become a therapist in the first place.
I enjoyed the writing in this book immensely. The author did a wonderful job describing the little details of each scene. I felt like I got to know her patients and her therapist through her stories. There was, perhaps not surprisingly, a lot of analysis of the author’s own feelings and motivations. She made insightful connections between her personal life and different theories therapists use to treat patients. She did the same when discussing her patients. The thoughtful, analytical approach didn’t take away from the emotional impact of the stories she was sharing. Rather, it helped highlight the universal aspects of her and her patients’ experiences.
We also got several great character arcs. Like true crime, it seems therapy lends itself well to story telling. There is a clear beginning, when the patient starts therapy, and satisfying endings are possible when the patient completes therapy or has an important break through. These patient stories were perfectly balanced with those about the author’s professional training and those about her personal life/experience as a patient. I think my desire to see all of these different topics in a memoir is partially shaped by the rise of memoirs that are also about a specific subject. They’ve turned out to be one of my favorite sub-genres. I’m also not really into celebrity culture. There are very few people I’m excited enough about that I desperately want to read their life story. That means a memoir is likely to work much better for me if it covers something other than just the author’s personal experiences. The insight into the process of becoming and then working as a therapist, plus the details of the author’s daily work, really made this memoir shine for me.