By Lori Gottlieb
I always hesitate to read books getting all the buzz. As if I’d be selling out or fall into a 50 Shades of Gray shame spiral. A book that seemingly sensationalizes therapy and is being turned into a television for ABC starring Eva Longoria? Well that seemed like equally a stretch for a subject matter that I take very seriously: therapy. But I was invited to a book reading and discussion with Lori Gottlieb, the author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone and she was so earnest, so lovely, so committed to her patients (who all gave permission to be included in the book) that I couldn’t help but look at the NYTs best-seller with fresh eyes.
If you’re curious about what actually happens in therapy, think you’re alone in your neurosis, heartbreak or trauma and need to be reminded otherwise, or intrigued by what transpires when a therapist needs therapy, then pull up a couch. This nonfiction reads like a novel, complete with a flawed but an endearing cast including Gottlieb herself, who bares far more about her personal and professional life than I expected. That genuine vulnerability makes for a surprisingly engaging read. I won’t call Maybe You Should Talk to Someone a page-turner, because I had no problem reading a chapter a night and putting it down. But I also thought the pacing was appropriate, giving readers a realistic glimpse into the messy journey that is therapy—and the tangible benefits. Gottlieb’s story is just as therapeutic to witness unfold as her patients’. All of them made me cry and feel more connected to humanity—not in a dramatic, beach-book way, but with the grounding truth that we are all just doing our best and all capable of healing our lives.