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my favourite read of 2021

A Review on Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, a book by Lori Gottlieb. Review by Nadja Fernandes

Of all the nonfiction books I’ve ever read, bearing in mind I’m more of a fiction reader, Maybe You Should Talk To Someone is on my very top list. Gottlieb masters with unprecedented skill to convey a message which is so human and universal. By telling us about the world of her patients, and giving intricate insights into the relevance and meaning for our world, Gottlieb achieves in a book what I would not have thought possible: to allow the reader to examine and re-examine their lives, their fears, their dreams, their traumas, and hopefully, to dare seek happiness, not as an utopian concept, but as an active pursuit that keeps one engaged, committed to oneself, looking inside and facing every corner with enough compassion to provide the necessary nurture so that healing and growth can take their course.

Here is one of my favourite segments:

“She was used to viewing the world from a place of deficit, and as a result, joy felt foreign to her. If you’re used to feeling abandoned, if you already know what it’s like for people to disappoint or reject you - well it may not feel good, but at least there are no surprises; you know the customs in your own homeland. Once you step into foreign territory, though - if you spend time with people who find you appealing and interesting, - you might feel anxious and disoriented. All of a sudden, nothing’s familiar.” (Gottlieb, 2019, chapter 41)

The only aspect I did not enjoy as much were in relation to how she makes sense the ending of her relationship with someone she chose to name ‘Boyfriend’. I attribute her approach to a choice of being elegant, forgiving, and non-judgemental. After all, ‘Boyfriend’ was NOT one of her patients, so the lack of ‘blame’ (to use a word) that is placed on him is justified, in my view. This specific element of the plot was most significant to me, due to the fact that like the author, I too was once dumped by someone on the grounds that I had a child who was still too young and needed me too much, and they did not want that in their life. So perhaps I am biased.

Still, I enjoyed every single chapter, because each spoke to me so vividly. I particularly liked the mixture of deep subject matters, but also a touch of humour enough to amuse a soul that was about to cry. Gottlieb has earned my uttermost respect and admiration. If I could pick a ‘celebrity’ to have a coffee with, it’d be really hard not to choose her.

Gottlieb, L. (2019). Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, Scribe.


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