The Good Patient
Kristin Waterfield Duisberg
April 3, 2004
Trade Paperback/336 pages
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". . . a fascinating portrayal of what goes on inside a psychiatrist's office and the mind of the patient."
"The Good Patient is, for all its shadow, full of hope and heart."
With a history of bulimia, promiscuity, alcoholism, and self-mutilation, Darien Gilbertson''s resume of mental illness and relationships with various physicians is quite impressive. So too is her successful life in New York as an ad executive, with an adoring husband and a weekend home in the country.
How the two parts of Darien come together, or rather, come apart proves a gripping read in Kristin Waterfield Duisberg''s, The Good Patient, a first novel and an excellent one at that.
By turns harrowing and hilarious, full of razor-sharp writing and gut wrenching descriptions, Patient serves up an in-depth look at one deeply disturbed woman. Darien manages, in spite of hidden tendencies toward self-destruction, to function in an upper class Manhattan lifestyle using intelligence and humor to mask her inner demons. Yet when old habits resurface, she lands in Dr. Rachel Lindholm''s office and finds the one person whom she cannot manipulate or deceive, and who might be persistent enough to uncover the truth behind Darien''s behaviors.
Through therapy and experience, layers of Darien''s reality peel away to startling revelations, centering on themes of family, loss and forgiveness. Duisberg''s novel, a fascinating portrayal of what goes on inside a psychiatrist''s office and the mind of the patient, explores the intricacies of memory and its ability to shield in the wake of unspeakable hurts.
The Good Patient is, for all its shadow, full of hope and heart. It''s a story of learning to trust, of relying on the faith of others when self is lost, and, ultimately, in finding the bravery to live.
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