Author: J.L. Morin
Publisher: Harvard Square Editions (2012)
Number of Pages: 366
How long it took me to read: 1 week
Where I got this book: Uncustomary Book Submission
Like a Moth to a Flame
What can I say? Politics, murder, and humor intrigue me.
I propose that the top 5 quotes from this book are:
5. “The second month on the job, I decided the best solution would be to get some Prozac. As if they can’t tell when someone’s on that stuff. It makes your eyes bulge.” (p.63)
4. “I was beginning to hate myself for working at a bank supporting the military-industrial complex that runs our country—that which they don’t teach you in business school.” (p.118)
3. “I kept taking the bait and losing more respect. If I could just be the bitch that he wanted, we could be happy together forever as masochist and dominatrix.” (p.79)
2. “I tried not to stare at the walls. If I stared hard enough, my mother’s blood would scream up from the white.” (p.181)
…and my pick for the No.1 quote is…
1. “I believed that if I had a whole man, I would stop hunting for more in the goddamn relationship and achieve some goals. Unfortunately, I had not met a whole man. I had conducted in-depth searches of many half-men, their dance moves, their ponytails, summer houses, mole on the chin, and what was not there was really not there.” (p.63)
Conversation with the Reader
While I read, I write, and as I write, I read. Here’s some of what I wrote while I read this book:
“This is an angry book. I don’t like reading angry, depressing books with victim protagonists. I already work with angry, depressed, and victimized clients. I need to read uplifting books, spiritual books, or mysteries that are challenging or irreverent and funny. I don’t want to read books that are the written form of the pathologies I hear in my everyday life; it’s just so draining unless there’s a lot of progress with the client, and then it becomes uplifting.
“I’m not finding anything uplifting in this book, though. Jerry, our hero, is steeped in anger, playing the constant victim in life who blames this victimization on everyone around her. And while I love good, well-placed sarcasm, this book is constantly sarcastic and constant sarcasm is not funny or irreverent; it’s mean and angry. The constant pop psychology and the discussions with an eTherapist could be quite humorous, but the dialogue is stilted and sounds like it came from canned statements written by someone in Therapy 101 (and maybe it was). There is so much anger especially directed at men and these men all have significant pathologies, including sexual dysfunction and relationship struggles. Why is that, I wonder? What is it with this woman—self-hatred and other-hatred. Then I wonder, why is the author writing about such anger and pathology? Is this a reflection of Morin’s experience of men, work, and life?”
“The discussion about Prozac is so off base (see above quote No.5), that I find it difficult to read more about the psychopharmacology that this woman so badly needs. Prozac does not—I repeat, does not—cause bulging eyes under normal circumstances. Perhaps if one has an allergic reaction to it or other medications it can cause swelling, but this is very rare. Really, Prozac is a good medication and like most medications, it has side effects—eye bulging not being one of them. And for the twenty-five plus years of being a therapist, I have yet to see eye bulging!
“I’m frustrated with the author’s lack of insight regarding mental illness, medications, and therapy; I hate when lay people write about such things that they really know nothing about and play amateur therapist. And while there are many authors who can either write about this topic with realistic content or write about it will such humor that the reader knows it’s farcical, this book does neither. I’m not only wondering about Jerry’s psychiatric diagnosis, but that of this author….”
“I’m a financial idiot. And since I’m a social worker, I really don’t need much financial acumen (due to my lousy salary as a therapist). But some idea of what this book is discussing regarding the inner workings of banking, trading, etc., in financial institutions would be helpful to me as I try to decipher what is happening in this book.”
“I keep reading about all this angry sex, needy sex, suffocating sex, S/M sex (including self-flagellation), and victim sex. It’s not erotic, it’s not funny, and it’s not loving. It’s pathetic sex by a woman who feels victimized, but who does a lot of preying on others as well. I’m finding nothing I can relate to in this book except that this protagonist is in need of significant therapy. Her self-hatred is frustrating, as is her narcissism; for example, when a boyfriend sticks a light bulb up his ass and breaks it, she becomes more desperate and depressed and makes the act about her. I do wonder about her past for she’s a psychiatric nightmare. She’s always searching for a complete man when what she really needs is to become a complete woman (I too, can write pop psychology).”
“So I’ve decided to go online to see if other people like this book, and beyond belief, they do. Some find it erotic (I think my definition of erotica must be significantly different), some find it humorous, and some find it a fascinating read into Wall Street and into women’s empowerment. So maybe I’m missing the whole point of the book; maybe my sense of humor has abandoned me (and the book is all about abandonment); maybe I’ve lost my sense of political righteousness, of feminism, of sarcasm, of irreverence, of mystery. But I don’t think this is true. And while I hate to write up bad reviews (since being an author myself, I know how difficult it is to hear things about the baby I’ve birthed), I’m still giving it a bad review. I just don’t like this work and won’t be reading anything by this author in the future. Blame it on my age, blame it on my being a therapist, blame it on being an unsophisticated Midwesterner (and native Hoosier), blame it on whatever, but I just cannot relate to the tragedy of this angry work.”