Christie Tate had just been named the top student in her law school class and finally had her eating disorder under control. Why then was she driving through Chicago fantasizing about her own death? Why was she envisioning putting an end to the isolation and sadness that still plagued her in spite of her achievements?
Enter Dr. Rosen, a therapist who calmly assures her that if she joins one of his psychotherapy groups, he can transform her life.
Christie Tate’s Group is one of those rare memoirs that can be accurately described as honest and raw, and I don’t entirely mean that as a compliment ... But ultimately Group is a bit unsure of what it wants to be. Tate’s language is at times lyrical, as in a description of the aftermath of a childhood tragedy; at other times, her breezy tone has a reductive, sitcom-ish quality and her descriptions veer into stereotype ... Still, Tate’s hard-won willingness to become loving and to be loved ultimately shapes a story that has a lot of heart.
In therapy, Tate learns that secrets are toxic, and applies that lesson to her writing. Essential to Tate’s project is authorial ethos, and she maintains credibility by writing the bad, the ugly, and the badly ugly through years of painful relationships and despair. Her writing displays a wonderful combination of clear and simple with sparkle and intelligence ... a compelling narrative.
Written with humor and brutal honesty, Group is a bracing, confrontational, and absorbing read ... Tate’s vivid, engaging prose opens the door on group therapy, making it feel like one is right there in a molded plastic chair, watching as Dr. Rosen rocks Tate in his arms after one of her breakdowns. It makes for an addictively voyeuristic, often squirm-inducing read.