One of our staff members reviewed Motherless Brooklyn by Johnathan Lethem for us. I’m sure you will find her remarks as insightful as I did:
Murder mysteries are not my first pick for leisure reading but this book hooked me from the beginning. I wasn’t motivated to find out “who-done-it”, I was turning page after page to see how Lionel Esserog’s Tourette Syndrome would drive and sabotage him through the plot. It is a fascinating, revealing first-person glimpse into the mind of someone with Tourette Syndrome. Some of Lionel’s thoughts are self-reflective, such as “Tourette’s is just one big lifetime of tag, really. The world (or my brain—same thing) appoints me it, again and again. So I tag back. Can it do otherwise? If you’ve ever been it you know the answer.” At other times you hear the internal dialogue as a tic builds and he bursts forth with something like, “Lionel Essrog. Line-all. Liable Guesscog. Final Escrow.” When I’m in a clinical mindset, I’m focused on the symptoms I can observe, probing for effective strategies, and providing prompts to scaffold to the next level. While I appreciate that my objective drive is part of what makes me a good clinician, I also need to remind myself of the personal aspects of the clinical relationship: the underlying heartache, struggle and frustration that the individual is experiencing in a personal and relentless way with their disorder. Motherless Brooklyn is the type of book that brings me back to empathy.