An intense psychological dissection of love.

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The Cure for Love

A NOVEL ABOUT LIFE'S MOST SUBLIME AFFLICTION

In Seabaugh’s debut novel, a psychotherapist crosses an ethical line while working with a patient engaged to a volatile woman.

Dr. Jack Cochran isn’t just an experienced psychotherapist; he’s also the author of a best-selling self-help book, Winning at the Game of Love. But his success with love is only on paper; his marriage failed six years ago. Still, he remains hopeful of future possibilities and confident that he can help his many tormented patients. Then he starts treating Andrew, a genuine, empathetic guy with an unstable, damaged fiancee—a woman not unlike Jack’s ex-wife. Jack is haunted by the many parallels between his and Andrew’s stories; while Andrew presses on to save his relationship, Jack gave up on his. The doctor’s unraveling emotions lead to a deceit that could cost him his career. Seabaugh, a psychologist himself, devotes much of the story to analysis, philosophical debates and internal monologues about love: its intensity, its challenges, and its ability to heal and to wound. The narrative gets quite heavy at times, with very few lighter interludes, and every character in the book—Jack, his ex-wife, even his landlady-with-benefits—talks like a therapist. “Cynicism is the greatest denial of love’s possibilities and the greatest defense against the awareness of our own failure,” says Jack as he accuses his pal of “giving up on love.” Readers interested in psychotherapy will appreciate the behind-the-desk point of view. Skeptics, meanwhile, will appreciate a secondary question that the plot brings forward: Is the mission of psychotherapy plausible? The inevitable confrontation at the end is disappointingly anticlimactic, and there are a few too many typos. That said, Seabaugh is a skillful writer, and readers are likely to empathize with Jack’s decisions, good and bad.

An intense psychological dissection of love. 

Pub Date: March 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-1453752579

Page Count: 238

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2013

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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Cheerfully engaging.

WHAT ALICE FORGOT

From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She’s fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick’s bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick’s mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids’ school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth’s diary.

Cheerfully engaging.

Pub Date: June 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15718-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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