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The Good Psychologist Paperback – 20 Jan 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (20 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349123241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349123240
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 766,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

** 'This extraordinarily compelling novel combines the intensity of a thriller with the lucidity and depth of a master class. Shpancer, like all the best writers (and clinicians), doesn't just reveal the complexities of our nature but honors and preserves the mystery at their core. Page by page, THE GOOD PSYCHOLOGIST is brilliantly suspenseful; long after time is up, you'll continue to hear his voice in your head, elegant, knowing, and surpassingly humane (Robert Cohen, author of INSPIRED SLEEP and AMATEUR BARBARIANS)

** 'Noam Shpancer portrays the oft-hidden world of psychotherapy with unparalleled authenticity, compassion, and wit. More important, his literary gifts are profound. Beautiful language, an evocative sense of place, and an acute understanding of the human (Jonathan Kellerman)

Book Description

* A deeply human and humane novel that's a bit like HBO's series In Treatment - THE GOOD PSYCHOLOGIST was originally written in Hebrew and became a bestseller on its publication in Israel

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By BS on parade on 7 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I enjoyed the book and thought it was always interesting. The story was very simple A to B stuff without much complication or development. And the characters were missing any convincing depths. This comes across as deliberate minimalism and not outright bad writing. Or at least the author has turned his weakness for plot and character into a strength.

The book is also slightly shorter than most. In my experience the average novel takes about six hours to read. I finished this in about four and a half hours (238 pages).

I'm a little surprised at how unambitious it is in scale. It reads almost like a screenplay for a very low budget French film. The lack of scale seems odd, as though the use of every location and extra character was a costly burden he was trying to avoid. And I say French film as it shares that feeling of existential emptiness* I usually get from that countries films (see The Beat That My Heart Skipped, Death In A French Garden, Novo and especially The Pornographer which ramps it up to a silly degree).

The oddest thing about the book is that it lacks quotation marks when people speak. My best guess is that he's trying to blur the line between what is said inside, and what is said out loud. I quickly got used to this quirk so it wasn't an issue.

It's a decent book and not at all hard to read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 31 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The protagonist of this interesting novel is a psychologist and lecturer - and a father to a child he has never seen conceived with the woman he loves but he can't have. His lectures are popular with the students and his practice is successful, but that does not fill him with the same satisfaction it used to and more and more he feels the loneliness of his existence creeping in and he struggles to apply the advice that he so freely gives in both his professional settings to his personal life.

We meet him at the time when he has just started with a new case; a stripper who has developed a fear of performing - an issue that self-evidently threatens to destroy her livelihood - and her chance of making enough money to get her daughter back. The psychologist takes a special interest in the case risking not only to compromise his professional living but also his personal life since she makes it difficult not to blur the lines.

I really like the idea behind the story and it is very well written with many interesting, funny and useful observations along the way. I also like the interchanging roles he has as a lecturer, psychologist and individual (or maybe not so changing by the end of the day - there is a reason why I now shortly after finishing the book cannot remember his name, but just call him the psychologist).

The lectures are cleverly used to give us an insight in the theories and the reasoning behind the theories he uses in the psychologist chair and which we see applied in the stripper case all the same as we see how he doesn't exactly follow his own advice in the private sphere. The story develops naturally and at a good pace and the characters are interesting and believable, the writing fluent and it is such a novel idea that even though there are a few places where he is dangerously close to slipping into stereotypes and overused examples, I still enjoyed the read very much. Definitely recommendable!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Just William on 10 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Reading this book I couldn't help but be reminded of the television series [[ASIN:B001PGWO6G In Treatment]. Both share the same challenges to the therapist except that the novel allows us access to his every thought whereas the TV series has to rely on the extraordinarily expressive face of Gabriel Byrne. Shpancer mentions a few of his therapist's clients but our focus is directed to one in particular, the 'four o'clock client', a nightclub 'dancer' who seems to be suffering from a kind of stage-fright after having had a close shave with a spiked drink. The Psychologist from his lofty perch can even afford a little smile to himself as he calmly assesses what he will do to help her - 'Exposure treatment for the stripper...There's poetry in everything, everything is music; just listen, and you will hear it.' But this slightly smug distance will be erased as he becomes more and more involved in the details of her life and her quest to escape the degradation of her past and to win custody of a daughter.

The inability to maintain his usual professional distance stems from the echoes this client's case has with his own buried secrets. Gabriel Byrne's therapist would end his week with a session with his own therapist but Shpancer's has no such refuge. Even more dangerously he seeks his comfort and professional support from Nina, a former colleague with whom he shares a huge secret and dangerous connection. Having kept that potentially explosive situation a safe distance away he re-engages with it once again, something that threatens to bring those carefully constructed defences crashing down. I won't go into any more detail as I don't want to spoil what is easily the book's most fascinating aspect.
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