Laura Hancock's Reviews > Group: Six People in Search of a Life

Group by Paul Solotaroff
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's review
Aug 23, 2011

really liked it
Read in July, 2011

In the introduction, the author warns the reader to only expect entertainment from the book, not self-help. Of course, I didn't heed his advice and I immediately identified with one character, who never really worked through her problems. By the end of the book, I was disappointed and resentful at the characters who had made successful transformations as a result of group therapy.
The book is about six flesh-and-blood people in New York City who meet over the course of a year in group therapy and their progress (or lack thereof, in the case of the character I identified with.)
The people were unusually successful -- at the top of the games in their respective professions and social circles. Different disasters plopped them on the shrink's couch: divorce, substance abuse, perpetual singlehood, financial problems, crappy self-esteem.
The therapist was impressive. The wisdom he imparted during group was brilliant and the way he communicated was also brilliant -- so much so that the patients began analyzing each other using tools they learned from him.
The ending is unsatisfactory, in my opinion. Not just because my fave character didn't have any type of breakthrough or life improvement, but a few others didn't, either. Or didn't have enough of a breakthrough. It's a book, for crying out loud! It should have had a better narrative arc -- even if it's nonfiction.
The only reason I gave it four stars -- and part of me thinks it deserves there -- is because of the wisdom of the therapist. He is so good that part of me wants to reread the book just to focus on his knowledge. Then again, it would be violating the author's advice to not use the book as a substitute therapist.

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message 1: by Dana (new)

Dana Claycomb Aha! This confirms what I always suspected about psychotherapy-- that vicarious therapy is nearly as effective as first-hand therapy!

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