Endorsements for Momma and the Meaning of Life
"These spellbinding tales of pain and of healing transport us into the very cores of the therapeutic experience.”
William Peter Blatty, author of The Exorcist
"In every chapter, an epiphany, a tug at the heart or a gasp of realization. And ‘The Hungarian Cat Curse’ will be read aloud for decades, possibly forever. This isn’t a book-it’s a gift.”
David Spiegel, M.D., author of Living Beyond Limits
"Irvin Yalom brings to these splendid tales of psychotherapy his rich experience as a therapist, his broad knowledge of philosophy and literature, and his profound humanity. He draws the reader into his stories with the same skill he uses to engage his patients in therapy."
Mark Epstein, M.D., author of Thoughts Without a Thinker and Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart
"This is a chance to get inside the mind of a brilliant therapist and witness the soul breaking through. Like the first light of dawn, Momma and the Meaning of Life is warm, radiant and revealing."
Les Havens, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Hospital
"Irvin Yalom continues to astonish us. Vitality, eloquence, wisdom, courage and the capacity to listen and learn mark this book indelibly."
Harold Ramis, director and producer of Analyze This
"Ironic and self-aware, Irvin Yalom gently leads us to the brink of death, to the edge of madness, and to the depths of despair. Dr. Yalom makes the same compassionate agreement with we, his readers, as he does with his patients: To reveal himself fully and honestly so that together we may confront the bleak existential realities and bring meaning and richness to our lives. I'm sure his Momma would have been proud."
Nick Nolte, actor
"A fascinating commentary on the bond between patient and therapist."
“Six long psychotherapy narratives—four based on actual cases, two fictional—that comprise a worthy sequel to the author’s bestselling “Love’s Executioner: And Other Tales of Psychotherapy” (1989).
Yalom, author of many other books on psychotherapy, focuses here on how life can be enriched by emotionally integrating close encounters with loved ones’ deaths and with one’s own mortality. What particularly makes this book worth many times its price is a stunning piece entitled “Seven Advanced Lessions in the Therapy of Grief.” Here Yalom captures seven years of work with the emotionally frozen if often acerbic Irene, who during adolescence lost a beloved brother in a car accident and is about to lose her husband to brain cancer. He vividly describes such therapeutic concepts as “rage grief,” the way in which a bereaved person often feels an acutely heightened sense of his or her mortality, and how flashes of intense anger between patient and therapist can paradoxically strengthen the bond between them. In all these pieces, Yalom also illustrates his approach of actively exploring the “here and now,” or in-session emotional dynamics, even when this involves either side expressing particularly erotic, hostile, or other charged feelings.
Yalom...again displays the great narrative drive and wit evident in “Love’s Executioner.” At least as much as that book, “Momma and the Meaning of Life” contains some truly profound observations on death, the sometimes desperate attempts to modify one’s personality so as to live more fully, and other human struggles.
These six engrossing narratives are very valuable gleanings from a master therapist’s professional and personal experience.”