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Mount Misery

by Samuel Shem M.D.

ISBN 0449911187 / 9780449911181 / 0-449-91118-7
Publisher Fawcett
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

Anyone who has read Samuel Shem's previous novel, The House of God, will be familiar with Dr. Roy Basch, the protagonist of Mount Misery. When last seen, Dr. Basch was completing a grueling residency; Mount Misery finds him beginning his psychiatric training at an upscale New England mental hospital. His introduction to the myriad forms of therapy available today--everything from Freudian psychoanalysis to psychopharmacology--provides Mr. Shem with plenty of blackly humorous grist for his mill. In this hospital, apparently, you need a score card to tell the doctors from the patients.

Shem (the pseudonym of psychiatrist and playwright Dr. Stephen Bergman) delights in broad parody. He creates, for example, characters such as Dr. Heiler who gives lectures entitled "Borderline Germans and German Borderlines," or Dr. A. K. Lowell, whose devotion to Freudian analysis is so extreme that she refuses to speak to patients at all. Though the humor can be clumsy at times, Shem makes some serious points about the perils of psychotherapy in which the therapist is not above reproach. [via]