Don't be put off by the lurid title, the occasionally sensationalistic material, or Myers's clunky prose. Behind them is an often fascinating group of firsthand case studies of ``countertransference''—the problems that develop when a therapist allows his or her own hang-ups (and unconscious agendas) to interfere with a patient's treatment. Myers, who supervises psychiatrists and other therapists at leading New York hospitals, offers nine accounts of misguided shrinks whom he counseled—plus an affecting story of his own personal triumph over countertransference. Two of the cases are too melodramatic to yield serious insight: the young psychiatrist, himself sexually confused, who encouraged a male patient to have a sex-change operation, then moved in with him/her; a middle-aged female doctor who treated a young woman without revealing her own long-ago affair with the patient's father. But the others are convincingly detailed and clearly told: Gabriel, whose unconscious fantasy of rescuing his mother (a concentration-camp survivor) was projected onto a female patient. Stan, whose own sexual inhibitions prevented him from responding appropriately to a patient's promiscuity. Black therapist Joyce, whose feelings about white families (and her own past) interfered with her treatment of a young white woman trying to become independent of a coddling family. (Myers has made interracial therapy something of a specialty.) Plus: sadistic Edie, trouble-maker Henry, greedy and corrupt Leonard, vengeful Alicia—and Myers himself, who succeeded in treating an older man's impotence only after realizing that he was unconsciously using the patient as a father-substitute. Uneven, then, but generally solid, shrewd, short on jargon, and long on common sense—with a powerful message: all therapists, even drug-dispensing psychiatrists, need to have as much therapy as possible before practicing on the rest of us.

Pub Date: June 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-671-73898-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1992

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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