Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Skeleton Cupboard - Tanya Byron

A travel through the evolution of a clinical psychologist, from initial wonder as to how the brain works to years of experience.

Tanya Byron has taken cases from each step of her progress to illustrate the case, her dealing with it and, in the earlier cases, her mentor's assessment of the case and her reactions.

Put together these aspects make an educational and, at times, heart-rending read. Despite being about health it is nowhere near similar to the misery literature clogging up bookshelves at the moment.

The reader can feel the frustration of investing such a large amount of emotional commitment and time into a career only to find the mentor appears to be disinterested as Byron struggles to believe in her own ability and searches for affirmation of her skill. You get no impression of the author having written only for the purposes of blowing her own trumpet. Reading may mean that you are able to be a bit more generous in your perception but not necessarily that you'll be able to jump in and help in any given situation. Unless you're already a health professional.

Empathy with the new psychologist comes into it when there's a case that is doomed fom the start and unusually for this type of book not all of the cases are out and out successes. Across the seven chapters they range from a married pensioner couple whose story is simply heartbreaking and beautiful to transgender individuals to drug addicts.

The book has the same readability of  Tori Hayden without the congratulatory self-patting on the back. I predict this one will fly higher and soar longer than Hayden.

All in all it's a must read- especially if you think dementia is as simple as forgetting things when you're older.

Publisher - MacMillan

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