Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, Lori Gottlieb

Title: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
Author: Lori Gottlieb
Link: Goodreads

Start: 19 December 2020
End: 30 December 2020


The book focuses on the author and her experience and feelings after breaking up with her 2-year boyfriend who suddenly says he does not want to have kids in the house – he has 2 grown kids and she has an 8-year-old. This comes as a shock and she narrates what she is feeling and what is going through her mind.

We learn that the breakup issues, whilst perturbing, were only a front for what was really going on. After several sessions with a fellow therapist, we learn more about what the author was truly going through. The potentially wrong book deal, her career path, and her main fear, leaving her young child motherless.

In the meantime, we meet some patients of hers and learn of their issues and the process they go through to obtain closure. The main characters we meet are:

  • John

John seems to be a workaholic and thinks idiots surround him. Each person he meets is an idiot for some reason or another. He is also distant and adds even more distance to those trying to get close to him by being rude and making absurd comments. He is a bit of a douche and intolerant.

Through the therapy sessions, we learn that he is actually a decent guy who has a lot on his plate, including his mother’s death and the death of his young son, with the death potentially being caused by him. He is conflicted and feels like he needs to be strong for his family. He feels showing emotion is a sign of weakness and therefore, never dealt with the losses he suffered properly.

The therapy allows him to open up, and slowly he reapproximates himself to his family. What he thought was a sign of weakness, and had to show a strong front, was actually pushing his family away – the opposite of what he wanted to achieve.

  • Julie

Thirty-something Julie is a happy newlywed. She gets pregnant and has a miscarriage which is devastating enough, but a further doctor’s visit reveals the devastating news that she has cancer. We learn of what she has been through, the emotions and high and lows of her life pre-cancer, finding out the news, nearly beating cancer and ultimately accepting the fact that cancer will take her life.

We learn of the type of person she was and how this changed, not only on her outlook of life but also on death.

  • Rita

Rita is a depressed senior citizen because life has passed her by in a way she did not expect. She comes across as looking for the negative points in any event of her life and is threatening to take her life unless she finds love by her next birthday.

As the therapy sessions take place, she starts to open up, and we soon learn that she is estranged from her children and craves for their forgiveness. She also avoids finding happiness or ends it before it takes over as she is afraid to lose it as she has done in the past – you cannot mourn what you never had comes to mind. But in doing so, she also avoids potential joy.

We learn that she and her children were abused by her first husband and when she finally comes round to sharing this with her children, there is a glimmer of hope that they may reconnect. We need to be more open when we communicate with each other.

  • Charlotte

Charlotte is only twenty-one, but through drinking, which is being used to avoid facing her problems, she has already ruined most of her relationships. By visiting therapy, she treats the therapist as a kind of mother figure and shares snippets of information that suggests she had an unhappy upbringing.

Through therapy, she learns to look at herself introspectively and look at the source of her problems instead of just masking these with alcohol abuse. We need to face the issues head-on constructively if not we will keep going on a potentially rotten path until there is no turning back.

Thoughts:

The book is about opening up and dealing with our demons. Changing the way we interact and deal with things. From diverting problems to not telling the full truth, this book challenged how I think and express my emotions. The book also talks about the importance of taking responsibility and finding our loss, because, without loss, we cannot change.

We all have our deal-breakers. But when patients repeatedly engage in this kind of analysis, sometimes I’ll say, “If the queen had balls, she’d be the king.” If you go through life picking and choosing, if you don’t recognize that “the perfect is the enemy of the good,” you may deprive yourself of joy.

Lori Gottlieb

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish and looking forward to picking up another one of Lori’s books to add to my books collection.