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.
This sounds fantastic – I have experienced something similar in the past going from being a nurse to being a patient, so I will definitely be picking this up to see what her experiences were like.
I hadn’t thought about how common this experience must be for medical professionals! I don’t know much about the experience of therapy, so I particularly appreciated that the author was able to give me both perspectives.
What an interesting book. I think it would feel strange to read about someone else’s therapy sessions, but it sounds like it was really good.
I wasn’t sure about reading about therapy sessions either, but I ended up liking the intimate look at other people’s interior lives 🙂
Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)
I’m so glad you enjoyed this one! I have been reading it bit by bit over the last few weeks and I’m really enjoying it! I agree, her attention to detail is so good.
I’m glad you’re enjoying it too! I’d love to hear more about your thoughts when you finish it 🙂
Lory @ Emerald City Book Review
Totally agree about memoirs needing to be about something beyond the author’s personal experiences. This one sounds so well done, thanks for the great review.
I love that so many books like this, with a mash-up of memoir and an interesting subject, are coming out lately. I think they’re a great combination, both informative and with a human element.
Carole from Carole's Chatter
I really enjoyed it 🙂