I wish there were a whole section of the bookstore called “Journalists go do something really interesting and then write a whole book about it,” and it would include The Unlikely Disciple and Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers, and this book I want to read called Turkmeniscam, and it would also include The Husbands and Wives Club, which is the book that came out of Laurie Abraham’s sitting in on a couples therapy group.
I got this for Indie Sister for her birthday, but didn’t have time to read it before mailing it off to her. Next time I should give myself a bit more lead time, but honestly, the months are creeping up on me in a manner most iniquitous. Why is everyone born in March? Five March birthdays I’ve got to deal with, and if US immigration laws were so constructed as to allow my adjunct sister and apologist Soeur Catin to come live in Louisiana like we all want her to, it would be six.
As the daughter of a social worker and a crisis counselor, I am very, very interested in methods of therapy, and I have many opinions about therapists in popular media. There is a near-uniformity of TV and film therapists being (a) terrible at their jobs and (b) unethical, the weird exception being the therapist on Felicity. Don’t ask me why. Felicity is not my go-to show for emotional honesty, but Felicity’s therapist nearly always gives her solid, sensible advice. I have never been able to decide if J.J. Abrams did it on purpose, or if it’s a case of monkeys on typewriters. Mostly TV therapists are not very nice, not very good at their jobs, and probably pushing an evil agenda or at least trying to sleep with their clients.
So it was nice, in The Husbands and Wives Club, to see Laurie Abraham working hard to give a balanced portrayal of the therapist in her group, Dr. Judith Coche. I didn’t always agree with what Dr. Coche was doing, or the way she was approaching certain problems, but happily, neither does Abraham. Instead she dissects the interactions between the group members, carefully pointing up subtexts and biases to her readers, and giving some background on methods of couples/family therapy.
If you, like me, are intrigued by therapy, interactions between couples, and journalists who go do something really interesting and then write a whole book about it, The Husbands and Wives Club is for you! Or if you want to test-drive it, check out Abraham’s original New York Times article.
Why I read the end: I forget, actually. But it afforded me good spoilers about the people’s lives.