Books by Lauren Slater

Released: Feb. 20, 2018

"A highly compelling, only occasionally overstated assessment of the role of psychotropic drugs in the treatment of mental health issues."
A history and personal exploration of psychotropic drugs and medical procedures for treating mental illness and depression. Read full book review >
PLAYING HOUSE by Lauren Slater
Released: Oct. 15, 2013

"A fiercely, lyrically honest memoir."
A psychologist and nonfiction writer's frank meditations on how she formed a family and learned to love the people in her life. Read full book review >
THE $60,000 DOG by Lauren Slater
Released: Nov. 20, 2012

"Beautifully written, and not just for animal lovers."
Slater (Blue Beyond Blue: Extraordinary Tales for Ordinary Dilemmas, 2005, etc.) shares her thoughts and feelings about animals in a revealing, often surprising memoir. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2005

" Strange, puzzling, yet somehow forcefully compelling."
Memoirist and psychologist Slater (Opening Skinner's Box, 2004, etc.) explores the fairy tale. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2004

"Astonishing stories full of quirky personalities, told with wit and warmth."
Vivid, insightful account of the experiments that changed the field of psychology in the last century. Read full book review >
PROZAC DIARY by Lauren Slater
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

A perceptive and articulate young psychologist's revealing memoir of ten years on Prozac, with all its blessings and curses. If Slater's first book, empathetic stories about her patients, Welcome to My Country (1996), was remarkable for its self-revelations, this one is even more so. When Slater began taking Prozac in 1988, she was an intelligent but unemployed 26-year-old with obsessive-compulsive disorder and a long history of hospitalizations for depression, self-mutilation, and anorexia. Prozac changed her life. Despite the drug's slow-acting nature, within nine days she felt well, and the difficult job of learning to live a normal life began for her. While she felt it suppressed her energies, curiosity, and creativity, she discovered that her life became "quiet but rich, a fine piece of music by Mozart." She established a real home for herself, completed a doctoral program in record time, became a psychologist, director of a clinic, and a writer, and she fell in love. Long-term use eventually led to what she terms a "poop-out," and Prozac became "a well-meaning buddy whose presence can considerably ease pain but cannot erase it." Perhaps Slater's deepest regret about her dependence on Prozac for a normal life is the effect it has had on her sexuality, a subject she explores with great frankness and considerable grace. She also ponders the question of what Prozac in fact does: is it a sort of psychic steroid providing a competitive edge in life? Or is it, rather, a conduit to what Jung called the essential self? For Slater it has undoubtedly allowed her to become the person she is—a psychologist with a keen sense of what it feels like to suffer the agonies of mental illness. Fortunately, despite her fears, it doesn—t appear to have seriously dampened her creativity. Heartfelt but never mawkish; eloquent but never slick; a lyrical account of a drug that has caused mounds of controversy. (Author tour) Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 1996

A young psychologist's deeply moving stories about her patients—stories that turn out to be astonishingly revealing about the author's psyche. Slater's first book focuses on the early days of her career, when she worked with chronic schizophrenics at an East Boston mental institution. In the title piece, she meets the six men- -Moxi, Joseph, Charles, Lenny, Robert, and Oscar—who comprise her first therapy group and with whom she struggles to form a connection. For Slater, forming connections—``finding your self in the patient and the patient's self in you''—is what therapy is all about. Eventually, the young therapist discovers a thread of sense in Joseph's extraordinary linguistic chaos; in his ``tossed-up word salads,'' she sees ``diced up apples of desire, green leaves of love.'' Oscar, who is seriously delusional, often catatonic, and grossly overweight and slovenly, is the subject of another unusually sympathetic piece. Although connecting is the goal of therapy, it can seem at times almost too personal: Slater's account of connecting with a threatening young sociopath, for example, makes for tense reading. Most disturbing of all, however, is the final account, in which the author visits a patient in the same mental hospital where she herself was confined for long periods between the ages of 14 and 24. (Although she doesn't specify the reason she was institutionalized, Slater does refer to ``the raised white nubs of scars that track my arms from years and years of cutting.'') All that sets her apart from any of her present patients, Slater insists, is ``simply a learned ability to manage the blades of deep pain with a little bit of dexterity.'' What helped her get better, she says, was not psychiatrists' treatments but their kindness. Kindness—even tenderness and love—permeates these engaging accounts, which are often reminiscent of Annie G. Rogers's recent A Shining Affliction (p. 693). In both, eloquent young psychologists reveal their private miseries and their concerns about the therapeutic process. (First serial to Harper's; author tour) Read full book review >