Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Readers say... (on Amazon)

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book, October 18, 2010

By J. L. Knox "Musical Chairs" (USA) -

I read this book after reading Franzen's Freedom, and I was thankful for this timing. I enjoyed Franzen's book, and it was definitely a different, more all-encompassing (macro) structure, but the circumstantial similarities between the books are there. As I read Therapy, I was exposed to a character who, like Franzen's protagonist (Patty), has endured abuse and suffered mental upset. Franzen’s Patty, like Rose’s Barbara, is retracing her tale through the lens of personal psychological discovery; unlike Franzen's book, however, this novel is centered on Barbara's plight alone so we get to zoom in on her life, listen to her thoughts in a more in-depth way. Moreover, Barbara is believable. She's three-dimensional; she's self-sufficient; she's confused and yet not helpless; she's not merely looking for someone to rescue her or define her life. Instead, she is searching for her identity and the root of her pain, searching to define her own standards in a relationship, and yet she's doing so in what is actually a far more self-realizing decade than that of many coming-of-age novels/memoirs.

This book is important in that it breaks apart many common dilemmas men and women face in self-realization, and yet it does so without being overly sentimental or preachy. It also investigates the multi-faceted (and very personal, in this case) relationship between a psychologist and patient. It offers insight into what can happen when we rely too much on external forces to fight an internal battle. Perhaps most important, the book is well-written and moves seamlessly. I recommend it to anyone who's the least bit interested in psychology.

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