Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Other Patients – Rodrigo Muñoz Avia
This is a kind of a satire that delineates a suburban man and his perception of the world around him through comical situations, characters, monologues, and dialogues. The story follows Rodrigo (37), an ordinary man who lives with his wife, two children, and a cat in the suburbs of Madrid. His wife is nagging him a bit too much, his children are yelling a bit too often, and his parents and sister don’t really know what to do with him.
As the title suggests, the main action of the book is carried by numerous psychiatrists, psychologists and other therapists. Until his 37th year, Rodrigo lived happily and peacefully, until an attack of paraphasia (confusion of the syllables and letters in words) took place in the presence of his sister’s husband. This is where his first battles and confrontations with therapists began.
“To determine what psychiatrists actually do is as difficult as determining what psychologists do. Before I went to consult with Ernest, I had an unclear idea of what the psychiatrist was doing. After I went to consult with him and another ten or twelve psychiatrists and psychologists, I again had no idea. I came to the conclusion that, no doubt, no one knows what is psychiatry, what is psychology, nor how they are different, and that the main occupation of psychiatrists and psychologists is a tendency to find out who they are and what they are dealing with. It’s as if my father and I would rather spend time selling lifts and improving our products and services by philosophizing about our function in society and the history of lifts in the West. Well, my father actually does it. “
Although this is a humorous work and easy to read, it tackles some serious problems that most people today encounter – stress at work, stress at home, personal conflicts, misunderstandings … The book makes you smile and put your thinking cap on at the same time.
And as Rodrigo says, he was completely normal until he went in the psychiatrist’s office for the first time.
John Cleaver series – Dan Wells
John Wayne Cleaver is not your usual high school boy. He is introverted and calm, obsessed with a number of serial killers, and his life gets odder every day. And he really, really doesn’t want to become a murderer.
“It’s a pretty big shock to realize that the only people you can identify with are psychopathic killers.”
You might be weirded out (or not, if you have already read these books) and wonder why I would pick horror books as humorous ones. How fun can it be to read about sociopaths? Can a murder really make me smile? Well…
Let John Cleaver charm you with his witty remarks about sociopathic tendencies, (un)needed education about embalming, and his odd obsession with serial killers.
“For me, embalming was a form of meditation; it brought a sense of peace that I had never found in any other aspect of my life. I loved the stillness of it, the quietness. The bodies never moved or yelled; they never fought or left. The dead simply lay there, at peace with the world, and let me do whatever I needed to do. I was in control of myself.”
The book follows a young man’s journey of discovering himself, learning how to cope with the potential dangers from the outside world, and still keeping his sarcastic remarks at the top of the humor scale. Wells will draw you into his writing with an interesting combination of sociopathic humor mixed with elements of horror.
Queen of Babble – Meg Cabot
I hope you’re ready for light and fluffy, because Meg Cabot will give it to you. This chick-lit novel is one of the three Queen of Babble books. It is about Lizzie, a twenty-something young woman who just graduated from college in the USA, and now doesn’t know what to do with her life. She falls for a guy, moves to Europe to pursue a creative career (and her man). That’s when things start getting rough and tough, and Lizzie is falling into an existential crisis. This book really is a cotton candy of book sweets.
“No one wants to pursue anything creative anymore, because that’s too risky. They may not get the kind of return on the financial investment they’ve made in their education that they think they should.”
As a main protagonist, Lizzie is annoying, overly dramatic, and lost in her own train of thought a bit too often. Aren’t we all, though? Through her stories, she also portrays the dysfunctional atmosphere of her family, her own ups and downs, and the most common questions that girls ask when meeting European boys.
“There will be no more British guys. Unless they are members of the royal family, of course. ”
Lizzie is the type of character who tends to throw caution to the wind, and go for the fantasy life she dreams of. As you could’ve guessed, things don’t go as planned – her college degree is almost worthless, her lover-boy also, and she just seems to babble a bit too much. Not even Europeans can handle that. The only good things in her life are her supportive best friend and her sense of humor.
“Book light,” Grandma grumbles as I hurry her away from Dad’s boss and his wife. “Who the hell wants a book light?”
“Lots of people,” I say. “They are very handy things to have.”