Good Morning, Monster by Catherine Gildiner
In this fascinating narrative, therapist Catherine Gildiner’s presents five of what she calls her most heroic and memorable patients. Among them: a successful, first-generation Chinese immigrant musician suffering sexual dysfunction; a young woman whose father abandoned her at age nine with her younger siblings in an isolated cottage in the depth of winter; and a glamorous workaholic whose narcissistic, negligent mother greeted her each morning of her childhood with “Good morning, Monster.”
Each patient presents a mystery, one that will only be unpacked over years. They seek Gildiner’s help to overcome an immediate challenge in their lives but discover that the source of their suffering has been long buried.
As in such recent classics as The Glass Castle and Educated, each patient embodies self-reflection, stoicism, perseverance, and forgiveness as they work unflinchingly to face the truth. Gildiner’s account of her journeys with them is moving, insightful, and sometimes very funny. Good Morning Monster offers an almost novelistic, behind-the-scenes look into the therapist’s office, illustrating how the process can heal even the most unimaginable wounds.
September 22nd, 2020
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Have you read anything lately that totally captivated you from the very first page? I was a huge fan of the 2019 non-fiction release Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb (you can read my review HERE) and so when I saw that she had blurbed that this book was “heartbreaking, surprising, inspiring and profound” I knew I needed to read it as soon as possible. In Good Morning, Monster, author, and therapist Catherine Gildiner shares about five of her former patients who overcame enormous trauma and who she considers psychological heroes.
These patients initially came to her for a preliminary issue, and only after years of work together were the layers really peeled away, exposing the real core of their often repressed traumas. I am not going to sugar coat it, these stories are heavy and some of the events are almost unimaginable but seeing these stories unfold was absolutely remarkable. We are able to see how these amazing individuals coped along the way and how they learned to work alongside their long-buried wounds, but now, without letting them define them.
While these journeys were absolutely heartbreaking at times, I was so inspired by the process of digging into their own pasts to ultimately discover healing and a path forward. I appreciated that Dr. Gilidiner shares the highlights of her therapeutic work as well as the failures and setbacks along the way. You can tell she works from a place of empathy and kindness and holds the utmost respect for these amazing people she has worked with.
Woven into these captivating real-life stories was an incredible amount of professional insight that added so much when learning about these amazing individuals. This book was also an important reminder that many people we interact with on a daily basis have endured unbelievable traumas and how important prioritizing our mental health is.
The people that I am most inspired by are the ones who have worked through enormous hurdles and setbacks, and are still here, learning, reexamining, and pushing on in the face of adversity. This book is a must-read and already know it will be one of my top books of 2020.
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for a gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.
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