Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Sometimes a book reads like a new friend. You meet for coffee and connect over a conversation that spans hours. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb reads as such. A former television writer, Gottlieb (we’ll just call her Lori), writes with a deceptively casual mastery of storytelling that makes it easy to lose track of time. 

In this non-fiction book, readers meet Lori (a therapist) at a moment of vulnerability when, grieving the sudden end of a long-term relationship, she seeks therapy. The experience is not without awkward incident as Lori googles her therapist and then struggles against accidentally revealing her knowledge. It’s laughable and human in the most relatable way. 

The book is unique in that we see Lori as both patient and therapist. When she isn’t navigating her own crisis, Lori shares her patients’ stories in a way we root for and (occasionally) against them. The most unlovable patient makes the reader uncomfortable, first through their words and later for their loss, while the most tender patient will make us braver. 

Note: this is not a book about therapy. You will not be able to successfully diagnose the friend or relative you think needs to read this book. Neither is this a self-help guide to better mental health. It’s a book about relationships between imperfect people told with enough humor to make the difficult pieces accessible. Keep tissue on hand, but be prepared to laugh.

If you enjoy this and want more on-the-job humor, try Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl. Like reading about mental health with a healthy dose of humor? Check out Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson.

 

 

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