Friday 21 January 2011

The Good Psychologist by Noam Shpancer

Pages - 238

Published by Abacus in January 2011. This book was a review copy sent to me by Abacus.

The psychologist sits in his small office, rests his elbows on his desk, buries his face in his hands and wishes that his four o'clock won't show up. He doesn't usually take appointments after three in the afternoon. But he has decided to deviate from his usual routine for her. A small concession because she works and sleeps late and can only make it in the late afternoon, that's what she said over the phone.

I was very skeptical when I was asked to read this book. Firstly, I wondered if I was going to read a book that would go way over my head. I think it might have been the title that gave me initial concerns. Secondly, I knew absolutely nothing about psychology.

I took my first tentative steps through the pages and found myself experiencing familiarity with the author's style,  reminding me of  This Book Will Save Your Live by A.E. Holmes. If you liked the quietness and thoughtfulness of that book, you will love this.

Some of you may worry that this subject may be too technical or too scholarly, but those words are not the right ones to describe this book. I found that the story flows beautifully and easily like a gentle stream.  I found the psychology passages dealt with in his classroom, easy to understand and enlightening.

This book is like experiencing therapy through fiction. I came away feeling like I had actually sat on the psychologist's sofa, been analysed, discussed my worries and came out feeling lighter.

Shpancer's writing style is quietly reflective and insightful. This author really knows what he is talking about.  He reaches into your brain, leaves a seed of thought, which buries itself and slowly blooms. I found myself analysing aspects of my personality as well as my relationships with the people in my life.

You will feel such empathy for the main character of the book. As a psychologist, he walks a fine line between his professional life and his personal one. Not by his choice, mainly by the patients he treats, who look at him in a paternal fashion, which the psychologist has to continually fight with to stay in control and remain professional.

When treating his patients, you cannot help but feel that they resemble ticking time bombs. The psychologist must find the fuse and detonate them before the patients problems escalate and explode.

The book surprised me in one way by not containing any speech marks.  I was later to find out the book was written thiat way because the author saw the book as a 'lengthy interior monologue from the point of view of the Good Psychologist, rather than a more common or literal portrayal of events.' On reflection, this made sense and it is now something I shall be looking out for in other books as I understand that other authors have used this style too.

I really enjoyed reading this book, as it not only entertained me but refreshed my own personal view of myself.  You don't need to be interested in psychology to fully enjoy this book. It will appeal to all.

If you would like to know more the author there is a interview with him here

I would like to say thank you to the staff at Abacus for sending me this book to review.


  1. Fascinated by all things psychological, this sounds like a book I'd really enjoy.

  2. This does sound fascinating. I'm glad you found it so refreshing. What a fabulous cover!

  3. Not only does this book sound fascinating, but that cover is breathtaking!

  4. I know some things, that which I remember from class *scratches head* Not much, but it was always so fascinating

  5. Vivienne, this sounds excellent; it sounds like a book that is thoughtful and also makes you think about your own self and relationships with others. Terrific review! I could use a book like this to help me muddle through.

  6. sounds fantastic viv.
    'I found that the story flows beautifully and easily like a gentle stream.'<-wonderful!

  7. This is a case where if I had judged a book by its cover I would have missed out!

    I LOVE your review - and seeing how I enjoy psychology (how the brain works and why I feel the way I feel at times)- it seems like a perfect book for me.

  8. This book sounds like it's right up my alley. I hadn't heard of it yet so thank you for reviewing it.

  9. Oh how interesting. I wonder if the no speech marks thing would bug me though. I have read some books that do that and find the only way I can read those books it's if I'm pretty much just read that book. It can't be one that I set aside for a while.

  10. I am fascinated by psychology too and this book is definitely something I'd love to read. I'm going to look for it!


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