In Lori Gottlieb’s newest book, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, the therapist is the one on the couch. After an unexpected breakup, the author, herself a therapist, begins the arduous process of finding someone to talk to. This book is the wise, funny and warm account of Gottlieb’s therapeutic journey, stitched through with tales of her patients’ fallibility and resilience. The result is an all-too-human portrait of our vulnerability and power as people struggling to get by and get better.
Lori Gottlieb is a psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author who writes The Atlantic’s weekly “Dear Therapist” advice column. Here’s what she’s been reading lately.
This is a surprising book because, even though the ostensible mystery at the heart of Dani’s story—who her biological father really is—is solved at the beginning of the memoir, the book reads like a suspenseful existential thriller as she unravels the big questions of identity that are both specific to her and universal to the human condition. How much of our essence is determined by genetics? By environment? By who loved us or didn’t love us the way we wanted to be loved? How do even the best-kept secrets seep into our lives anyway?
I’m actually rereading this, because it’s the kind of book you return to again and again. This is a beautiful story about a doctor in El Paso and the intern training under him. They meet at a time when both are going through personal crises: the doctor’s marriage is falling apart, and the intern is trying to stay sober from a drug addiction. It’s a gorgeous memoir about friendship and its power and powerlessness to heal someone you care deeply about. Keep the tissues nearby.
The Elephant in the Room by Tommy Tomlinson
Yep, there’s a pattern here—I’m a sucker for a good memoir. I just got this book a few days ago, and I keep staying up way too late reading it. If the first two books deal with secrets, shame and addiction, this one tackles all of those things along with our complicated relationship with body image and self-esteem. Tomlinson’s honesty and vulnerability, along with his humor and powerful prose, make the sleep I’m losing well worth it.