Social Work
by Thomas Duffy
Amazon Digital Services LLC

"The therapist-patient relationship is a tricky one. I don’t believe it’s supposed to be everlasting. A good therapist points their patient in the right direction."

It is a suicide attempt that first brings Marc to the behavioral health unit of the hospital where he meets Lauren, his therapist and caseworker. It’s difficult for Marc when his sessions are over with Lauren, as he has grown accustomed to sharing his struggles with her and receiving advice. Now, he feels he will have to “start all over” with a new therapist. To add to his already struggling life, Marc somehow makes his way onto a live taping of a new reality show featuring the first in-person dates of couples who’ve only met online, only to be utterly humiliated on TV, with a slew of negative online comments directed his way. Will he ever find the “normal life” he seeks—a loving and committed partner and a steady, fulfilling job to pay the bills?

Duffy’s book paints a realistic and fascinating picture of both the group and the one-on-one therapy sessions Marc undertakes in trying to get his life back together. At its heart, this is a book about relationships—relationships between a therapist and her patient, between the protagonist Marc and the women he dates, between him and his co-workers at the pharmacy, and even the relationship between the main character and his “mental illness.” The text is heavy with dialogue—and in this particular case, that is one of its strengths. The dialogue here is ultra-realistic, perhaps worthy of an adaption to the big screen. One can easily imagine it to be a film, refreshing in that it contains no special effects, just a good story that is character-driven and punctuated by plenty of humorous moments.

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