Love Bug & Other Tales

Dan W. Briddell, Author St. Martin's Press $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-312-24249-7
A practicing clinical psychologist for more than 25 years, Briddell has seen almost every stripe of mental anguish. In this chatty account of his work with 10 unusual patients, he comes clean about his therapeutic hits and misses. Since Irving Yalom (Love's Executioner) set the standard for this type of real-life psychotherapy yarn in 1989, few have matched his acuity. Yet each case in Briddell's diverse, thoughtful collection makes a lasting impression. Ruth, the daughter of a street-scarred mother of 12, battles her way through a host of woes: abusive lovers, a mentally challenged son, a troubled daughter and terminal cancer. Fred, a nerdy teen with insensitive parents, fights another kind of war with his fetid body odor and obsession with feces. Another patient, Emily, is the typical good girl whose life falls apart in adulthood in grand style, making suicide seem the only way out. Some of Briddell's patients, like Alex the cocky, controlling sales executive and Sloan the straying hubby enamored by a ""crack whore,"" will leave the reader cold. While the telling of these painful cases is detailed and often witty, their resolution is occasionally rushed and too tidy. Yet Briddell adeptly demonstrates how each case presents its own challenges and obstacles and why his warm, humanistic approach can do only so much to remedy the damage and suffering fostered by the dark, complex twists of life. Sincere, entertaining and revealing, Briddell has produced an absorbing book that should not be overlooked. Agent, Loren Soeiro of the Peter Lampack Agency. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
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