by Samuel Shem

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With the same brilliant meld of zany humor, human emotion, and high truth that made his first novel, The House of God, a medical classic, Samuel Shem, himself a psychiatrist, plunges headlong into the world of contemporary psychoanalysis, bringing to it all the same passion, comedy, and probing intent. In Fine we see psychoanalysis fifty years after Freud, its bizarre rigidity, its potential greatness. A rich, many-leveled tale told with Shem's magical mix of the serious and the hilarious, Fine is an erotic love story ("all love stories are about three people"); a murder mystery (who is killing the shrinks of Boston?); a novel of modern relationships; and a tale of awesome self-discovery. In short, it is about life.

In the short, plump, ebullient Fine, the author has created one of the most endearing and most surprising heroes in fiction. We love him in his joys and his delusions, his pain, his self-aggrandizement, at his heights of achievement and his falls from grace. Tumultuous, merry, blindly enthusiastic Dr. Fine—just out of Harvard Med—believes everything is possible: his love for his wise-cracking fiancée Stephanie; their close friendship with the budding actor John James Michael O'Day, Jr.; his future scientific career as the grand synthesizer of biology and psychology. Suddenly eager to find out how people change, he startles everyone on graduation day by announcing the start of his own analysis, in preparation for becoming a "shrink."

Seven years later—now a "perfectly analyzed human being"—this wonderfully open fellow has been transmogrified. Slimmed down, trussed up in his three-piece suit, straight-faced (jokes are aggressive), poor Fine is unaware that his marriage is failing (even Stephanie says: "Why are you analysts so weird?!"); he's lost his friends; he's separated from the world by a two-second psychoanalytic tape delay.

It takes the most extreme human dramas—being challenged by his patients, haunted by a murderer, deserted by his wife for a career as a stand-up comic, dealing with illness and infidelity—to shake him to the core. Only then does Fine realize how far he has fallen, how far he still has to journey to open up again, to become a husband, a friend, a true therapist, and, finally, a human being.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013138964
Publisher: Tantor eBooks
Publication date: 08/17/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 535,911
File size: 506 KB

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