Summary and book reviews of Group by Paul Solotaroff

Group

Six People In Search of A Life

by Paul Solotaroff

Group
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  • First Published:
    Jul 1999, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2000, 352 pages

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Book Summary

Six bright, successful, and remarkably self-destructive people enter into a course of dynamic group therapy in an effort to recognize and overcome their compulsions.

Six bright, successful, and remarkably self-destructive people enter into a course of dynamic group therapy in an effort to recognize and overcome their compulsions, addictions, weaknesses, and family legacies. Granted unlimited access to the sessions and the patients' lives, journalist Paul Solotaroff captures an utterly compelling real-life drama as it unfolds. Against a ticking clock--the prescribed period of treatment is ten months--a wide range of human tragedy and comedy plays out, imbuing Group with the pacing of a thriller as we learn, finally, who triumphs and who is beyond help.

Under the aegis of a charismatic, maverick psychiatrist, this engaging and diverse group of strangers commiserate with, badger, and urge one another along toward the goal of finding their "true story"--that is, the life they were meant to lead, their path to happiness--rather than accepting the "false story" they were handed in childhood and are unhappily living out. Accompanying the revelation of their fears, their hopes, their setbacks, and recoveries, come the doctor's psychologically acute insights and prescriptions on dilemmas common to us all. Group is, from beginning to end, an utterly absorbing journey along the often-excruciating and revelatory path of self-awareness and emotional healing.

That Tuesday, the seventh, was one of the coldest in years. Bundled to the eyeballs, people waded against the wind, which seemed to converge from three sides. The few cabs in service crawled ahead at foot speed, unable to stop short on the packed ice. I gave up trying to flag one and walked to Lathon's, ducking into doorways to catch my breath.

In his office, Lathon was apologetic. He'd seesawed all day about canceling the session, but was loath to, given the density of his schedule. At last, he'd called each of the members at work and presented them with the option. None, however, wanted to wait the two weeks, and so, for better or worse, we were on.

It was warm, even sultry, in the larger of the two rooms, as the old radiator hissed like a samovar. The light from the sconces was dialed down, conferring a soft, benedictory glow. In the slim kitchenette, a pot of water was brewing. Grouped beside it sat a cluster of whimsical mugs, each festooned with the caricature...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Time Out New York - Janet Steen

It is a highly entertaining, engrossing book that might make the most well-adjusted among us want to pull up a chair and start evolving.

Publishers Weekly

The wealth of surprises at the book's conclusion will keep readers riveted up to the last page.

Booklist - Grace Anne A. DeCandido

One's first impulse might be to throw such a book across the room - but what an error that would be. This is a fabulous story, in the root sense of making a fable for our time. Great reading and a convincing argument for the efficacy of group therapy, now falling out of fashion.

Reader Reviews

chris

"Group" is truly a moment captured by an author of lives in progress. As we invite the public into our private life on a daily basis, as well as a pattern of obscure persona creating a story to be heard for entertainment, this encounter by ...   Read More

Anonymous
Daphne Blake
Most people enter a group or decide to become a member of a group, because they seek improved relationships, or they desire a positive life change. In order to change, we must become aware of our interpersonal styles; how we behave in ...   Read More

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