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DORCHESTER BOY: Portrait of a Psychiatrist as a Very Young Man by

DORCHESTER BOY: Portrait of a Psychiatrist as a Very Young Man


Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 1973
Publisher: Arbor House

Dr. Viscott, sometime purveyor of easy-does-it therapeutic pablum, but also author of the popular The Making of a Psychiatrist, has in this sequel skipped back -- in a style refreshingly free of professional jargon -- to his early childhood in a Boston suburb where no one ever saw, much less became, a shrink. His background was the moderately successful, striving, quasi-cultured, childcentered (""I was taken everywhere a kid could be taken"") Jewish middle class; young David's druggist father was a frustrated doctor, his ""brilliant"" mother remained a housewife, and living upstairs were two old-country grandparents and a much traveled schoolmarm maiden aunt. His was the ordinary life of the Truman-Eisenhower age: school and disputes with teachers (he was bad in penmanship), clashes with a gang on the block, helping out in the family business, summers at the seaside, a car trip across the country and a brief, enforced season at summer camp. ""In some ways I was always a psychiatrist,"" Viscott writes in retrospect, and if he is not crediting himself with an awareness gained in later years, he was more sensitive and alert than one would expect of even the bright and active boy he was -- he found ""the beautiful"" in stones, art museums and symphonies, started people-watching on the Boston subways and felt a special affinity for the friendless and slightly strange. Viscott, a good writer with simple strokes, recreates a mundane world that lives.