Lori Gottlieb’s Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is one of the most important books I think I’ll ever read. It has something for everyone and leaves you feeling refreshed and whole.
One day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes her world to come crashing down. Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist in whose office she suddenly lands. With his balding head, cardigan, and khakis, he seems to have come straight from Therapist Central Casting. Yet he will turn out to be anything but.
As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients’ lives—a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life on her birthday if nothing gets better, and a twenty-something who can’t stop hooking up with the wrong guys—she finds that the questions they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell.
With startling wisdom and humor, Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is revolutionary in its candor, offering a deeply personal yet universal tour of our hearts and minds and providing the rarest of gifts: a boldly revealing portrait of what it means to be human, and a disarmingly funny and illuminating account of our own mysterious lives and our power to transform them.
I’ve been in therapy for over a decade at this point. There have been points where I’ve gone regularly, weekly even, and other points where I’ve gone less regularly, but therapy has been a large part of my life for a long time. I think that’s why I naively thought, going into this, that I’d enjoy this book but that I wouldn’t necessarily *get* much out of it. After all, I’d been doing the heavy-lifting of therapy for years, wasn’t this book more for folks who weren’t as acquainted with therapy?
I was wrong and my belief was problematic to say the least. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone has something for everyone. If you, like me, are more acquainted with therapy, it’s a fascinating and compelling read providing a behind-the-scenes look. On the other hand, if you’re not as experienced, it’s a highly accessible way to dip your toe in the water.
Finishing this book was bittersweet. I felt like I was saying goodbye to a confidante, a friend, who had become so dear to me. At the same time, I feel like a more insightful, better version of myself. This book honestly changed me, and I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that way.
“You can have compassion without forgiving. There are many ways to move on, and pretending to feel a certain way isn’t one of them.”
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone feels more like a conversation than a book. And one that every single person will get something distinct and different from, depending on what it is they need to hear at that moment.