The Day I Went Missing: A True Story

Jennifer Miller, Author St. Martin's Press $23.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-312-26571-7
Imagine the sucker punch of discovering that one's trusted therapist is a con artist. This devastating act of betrayal befell Miller, an accomplished television writer (nominated for an Emmy for her work on Roseanne). In this engrossing memoir, she recounts how she was taken in by charismatic, unconventional David Cohen, whom she thought might finally ease the residual feelings of disconnection and depression from her emotionally deprived childhood. Through cunning, escalating requests that Miller pay for therapy up front, as well as a crazy gambling scam after she was well and truly hooked, Cohen shook close to $100,000 out of Miller in little over a year, then faded out of her life, claiming he had cancer. While there are times the reader questions how Miller could have been so duped (at one point Cohen gets her signature, saying it's his hobby to collect them), for the most part she convincingly and dramatically conveys the mental seduction that made such deception possible. Miller also acknowledges that--compared to other therapists she has known, including her own aloof psychiatrist father and the ineffectual if not inept psychologists she had before and after Cohen--he may have been her most effective counselor. He also, quite simply, provides her with some great material: fascinating, elaborate lies (claims that he had multiple children, that he was abused by a satanic cult); messianic and stalker-like behavior; and a mysterious--and perhaps not certain--death. Agent, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, the Writer's Shop. (Feb. ) Forecast: Combining the reflective self-examination of Susanna Kaysen's Girl, Interrupted and Mary Karr's The Liar's Club with the page-turning pace of suspense fiction, this memoir will grab anyone who's ever been on the therapist's couch. (Unsurprisingly, master of horror Wes Craven already has snapped up this story for screen adaptation.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/2001
Release date: 02/01/2001
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-312-28203-5
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