cover image Dead Reckoning: A Therapist Confronts His Own Grief

Dead Reckoning: A Therapist Confronts His Own Grief

David C. Treadway. HarperCollins Publishers, $24 (260pp) ISBN 978-0-465-00728-8

Almost a quarter of a century after his mother's suicide, and when he himself is 40-something, Treadway, who was born into a prominent New England hotel family, finds his own life unraveling. The tragic event of his mother's death had seemed scarcely to affect him as a young man. Now there is a black hole hardening into a permanent emptiness. This despite a solid marriage, lively personal interests and an expanding career as a psychotherapist in Massachusetts. He seeks help from another therapist, as well as asking his father, siblings, aunts and uncles for written memories of the past. Except for an overly artful alternation between past and present tenses throughout the book, this is a well-written, absorbing memoir enriched by a number of narrative devices: parallels between what Treadway's patients are experiencing and his own problems; revelations of his own therapy; excerpts from his family's painful recollections; and incidents from his own ongoing life. This is an encouraging demonstration of how a psychological search into the past reopens and begins to heal old wounds. (Aug.)