MAYBE YOU SHOULD TALK TO SOMEONE is a funny, heart-warming, heart-breaking memoir about therapy and embracing change. It’s also the gripping story of four traumatized people who find peace with the help of their psychotherapist, Lori Gottlieb.
When Lori’s fiancée dumps her because his children have flown the coop and he no longer wants to help raise her 9-year-old, Lori tries to carry on as normal. But she’s stalking her ex online and can’t function enough to get dressed properly … which she doesn’t realize until a patient asks if she’s wearing a pajama top.
Lori decides she needs a few sessions with a therapist of her own. Her mission is to get validation that yes, her ex is an asshole. It’ll shouldn’t take long. (Spoiler alert: not true.) Asking friends for recommendations leads her to Wendell, who responds to her sobs by tossing a tissue box in her direction.
Meanwhile, we’re introduced to four of Lori’s patients: a newly-wed with terminal cancer; a young woman who sleeps with the wrong guys; an older woman threatening to end her life on her 70th birthday; and John, a Hollywood producer who belittles everyone as an idiot.
John was my favorite character. Early on, Lori describes him as an asshole with spectacular teeth. But she also suspects he’s dealing with pain the way she is—by covering it up. As he makes progress on her couch, the reader glimpses his funny, compassionate side. When he finally breaks down and cries—or breaks open, as Lori says—we realize John is proving the point Lori wants to make in her memoir: that therapy often reveals a much deeper pain than the initial reason for seeking a therapist. Simultaneously, she learns this firsthand as Wendell’s patient.
Lori punches a hole in the stigma of emotional struggles to show how much human beings share, despite different circumstances. “We are mirrors reflecting mirrors reflecting mirrors, showing one another what we can’t yet see.” Through the struggles of others, she points out, we find empathy and come to know our true selves.
Because everyone has demons, even therapists.