August never fails to be a slow reading month for me. I usually end up finishing one book just in time for the month to end, but not after picking up an average of three books, reading 10 pages, and realizing I just don’t want to read. I think a lot of this has to do with the crazy amount of reading I do in July between being at the beach and trying to stay cool indoors. A few of the books I started but put down in August (but will definitely come back to!) were The Flatshare, The Nightingale, and So You Want to Talk About Race (currently reading this one, just slowly so I can take it all in!).
In the end, the one and only book I picked up and actually finished in the month of August was Group by Christie Tate and let me tell you – it was so good!
GROUP: HOW ONE THERAPIST AND A CIRCLE OF STRANGERS SAVED MY LIFE BY CHRISTIE TATE
Christie Tate had just been named the top student in her law school class and finally had her eating disorder under control. Why then was she driving through Chicago fantasizing about her own death? Why was she envisioning putting an end to the isolation and sadness that still plagued her in spite of her achievements?
Enter Dr. Rosen, a therapist who calmly assures her that if she joins one of his psychotherapy groups, he can transform her life. All she has to do is show up and be honest. About everything—her eating habits, childhood, sexual history, etc. Christie is skeptical, insisting that she is defective, beyond cure. But Dr. Rosen issues a nine-word prescription that will change everything: “You don’t need a cure, you need a witness.
So begins her entry into the strange, terrifying, and ultimately life-changing world of group therapy. Christie is initially put off by Dr. Rosen’s outlandish directives, but as her defenses break down and she comes to trust Dr. Rosen and to depend on the sessions and the prescribed nightly phone calls with various group members, she begins to understand what it means to connect.
My Review: I always find it incredibly hard to rate memoirs – after all, who am I to say someone’s life experiences aren’t good enough? In Group, we follow Christie, a top law student that finally has her eating disorder under control but has a habit of fantasizing about her own death. Christie decides to give a revolutionary type of group therapy a try where nothing is a secret, no topic is off the table, and the group’s therapist Dr. Rosen gives each member “prescriptions” in a non-traditional sense. I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one but when it comes down to it, the lack of privacy in the group therapy, the way Dr. Rosen pushes Christie to stay in a toxic relationship and take a higher paying job, I couldn’t help but be a little concerned. There were also moments that I was extremely frustrated with Tate’s thought that being in a relationship equals happiness and success. I wanted to reach through the book and tell her your relationship does not equal your worth, you can be happy and successful as a single person.
My Rating: 3/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️