That's How the Light Gets In: Memoir of a Psychiatrist

Susan Rako, Author . Harmony $21 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4605-8

Rako (The Hormone of Desire ) trains her professional lens inward in her first memoir. Reflecting on her life and the appeal of psychiatry as both career and calmative yields a rich loam of memory and motivation, which are often inextricable from a therapeutic standpoint. In seeking the roots of her fears and desires, Rako sweeps her history's crowded terrain, her mind a searchlight picking up telling detail. She discerns profound significance in a torrent of events in her formative years, an assertion made plausible by the frenzied, meddling Jewish household of her Worcester, Mass., 1950s childhood. From childhood, Rako aimed to please her mother through piano playing, then by attending medical school and jumping into an early marriage; though her mother was a remote, detached figure, Rako still struggled to break away from her. She considers the fraught yet taut bonds between the women in her family—five generations trying to reconcile legacy with individuality. After the wrenching process of enlightenment, it appears Rako has achieved a calm, even amused resignation that glows with lucidity. Her memories and epiphanies make agreeable and often stirringly inspirational company, though the narrative's natural flow is often stopped up with word jams, bumpy prose and sometimes grueling therapeutic jargon. (Nov. 15)

Reviewed on: 08/15/2005
Release date: 11/01/2005
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