“maybe you should talk to someone” by lori gottlieb

Man, this is a great book. The author is a therapist and former TV story executive, so she knows how to tell a story, and her reveal of each patient case study feels like a mini-series. (Eva Longoria optioned the film rights for the book, to which my LA Alex friend said “of course she did, of course she did.” Still, it is rich material with theatrical scenes and meaty motives, so I get it.) The book is kind of a portrait of therapy, a memoir, and kind of a book about work. Like it’s fascinating to me the author went to Stanford, worked at NBC on “Friends” and “ER,” and through shadowing an ER doctor who consulted for the show, realized she wanted to go to med school. After feeling a tug between writing and a desire to have a family caused her pivot again to be a therapist. (I love all the career stuff. It absolutely made me go “WAIT A HOT SECOND,” is this kind of understanding, this kind of alignment between self and work possible??)

Anyway, I was excited to read this book because I love any kind of insight into how to live better, but also, even if none of the topics above interest you, it’s an incredible read. I don’t know why it’s so great. Having a great story or being able to write still does not mean a book will succeed. I have read a few memoirs of 38-year-old moms telling their life story in their last year of life–great story, right? Life and death? Meaning of it? Totes boring in the wrong hands. (The Unwinding of the Miracle by Julie Yip-Williams. Sorry. She was a lawyer and the text is intensely analytical. Gah. I’m not so left-brained so it left me cold.) Even if the writing itself and the story is killer does not mean the book can engage the reader. (I am bored reading “Small Fry” by Lisa Brennan-Jobs. Why? How is that? She’s got writing chops and she’s a child of Steve Jobs whom he refused to recognize.)

In any case, I love this book and here are some goodies about what she’s says about the human condition:
* You can’t change without loss. (Ouch. That’s cold son.)
* When you change, you start to grieve about the present, but the future too. There is a loss of future. (As my kids say, sick burn)
* The truth comes with a cost: the need to face reality (lord have mercy)
* The whole thing where you want the therapist to make a decision: everyone wages this internal battle to some degree: child or adult? safety or freedom? But no matter where people fall on those continuums, every decision they make is based on two things: fear and love. Therapy strives to teach you how to tell the things apart (I don’t fully get this point, but I definitely have questions I obsess over.)
* Life is uncertainty: some people use self-sabotage as a form of control (whoa)

I took the lessons she discusses in the book and applied to my life. For one week, I was pretty present and unfettered from my normal anxieties, and really enjoyed my life. For that, I’m grateful. It was a wonderful week before my normal brain kicked in.

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