This book came into my possession by interesting means. I first heard of this book from a psychoanalyst (psychiatrist to you primitives). This particular guy was a very interesting guy and he made a distinct impression on me. Though he didn’t cure me of my anxiety, he did have a lot to say about literature. His favorite book to talk about was Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, which I actually got to read a few months later in my AP Literature class. It is also now one of my favorite books. Ever. It really is fantastic, though my classmates will tell you otherwise.
This book, however, was another book he spoke about once. I’m pretty sure that, at the time, he couldn’t remember the title of the book, but he described the plot of the book to me, which I thought sounded pretty interesting, for the purposes of the conversation we were having at that point.
Around four months later, I stopped going to therapy and continued on with my happy little life. This was around the time when my friend Leslie and I started hanging out a lot after school. Up to this point in our friendship, we were simply far too lazy to “hang out”, but now we had devised a master plan for Halloween costumes and did a lot of running about in order to make it happen. One of the things we started doing frequently, was shopping at the local DI (Deseret Industries), where the used books were only fifty cents to a few dollars and usually had plenty of the books that we were looking for. Within the next year, my personal library increased in size by a factor of around four or five. In short, I obtained two new bookshelves for my bedroom and finally had enough books to organize them into some sort of order.
One day, Leslie and I were preparing for college. We cleaned the room that her grandparents are going to let us live in, we built our fantastically stylish bunk beds, and we mapped out where we were going to cram all our stuff (books). By way of reward, we treated ourselves with a trip to DI. As always, we made our way to the back corner that housed the books and began methodically sorting through the books to see if they had any that we wanted. I was going along a shelf when I reached a book entitled, “The Portable Therapist.” Because of the general attitude that my social circle has toward therapy, I picked it up to look at it, bemused. Putting it back, I saw the book pictured above.
Not knowing the title of this book in relation to the story line, I picked it up, mostly because I like hedgehogs. They’re adorable. Reading the description of the book’s plot, I quickly realized that this was the book that my therapist had been speaking of all that time ago. I looked back down at The Portable Therapist and laughed at the coincidence. Then I bought both books, of course, to commemorate the occasion.
Having just read it, I understand perfectly why my therapist would like this book. I’m something of an intellectual, yet half of the words in the book were words that I wasn’t familiar with. Not to mention the syntax was so complicated that I even had to re-read sentences. It was also incredible in that the main characters were constantly obsessing about grammar. Anyone who feels so strongly about grammar has a place in my heart.
Another thing about this book made an impression on me. That thing was the fact that, throughout the whole book, the main character (a little girl) was planning her own death. She gave very well-thought-out reasons for her suicide and was very convinced that her course was the right one. However, throughout every one of her arguments, I was constantly disagreeing. This isn’t a specifically individual reaction, but it was important to me. My state of mental health has never been…. ideal. I was in therapy, you can make your own inferences. It was just important to me because it assured me of my own will to live. I’m not suicidal. I never thought I was, but something about knowing for sure is strangely comforting.
Anyway, this book is a spectacular read, if you can keep up with the advanced writing. It’s a very nice “meaning of life” book, if you’re into that sort of thing.