Thursday, October 2, 2008
Hide & Seek - Book Review
Hide & Seek
A Neurotic's Hilarious Journey
by Wendy Aron
Let’s say that you have to go on a trip to a city in a foreign country. You’ve never been there and you don’t speak the language. It doesn’t matter whether you want to go or not; you have to go.
Now, you can take one companion with you and you’ve narrowed your choices down to three. First is your insanely rich grandfather. You love your grandfather and he loves you although you don’t have a lot in common. He’s promised that you will only have the finest on your trip – first class travel, the best hotels and meals in the finest restaurants.
Second is your brainy cousin. Again, you love your cousin and he loves you and you have as much in common with him as any two people of the same generation. The advantage here is that this cousin is a professor. He teaches the language and culture of the very same country where you are headed. In fact he goes there about once a year. He can pay his own way and promises to show you the most interesting and intellectually stimulating bits of the culture that you’ll be visiting for the first time.
Third is your friend. She makes you laugh.
Whom do you choose? It’d be a tough decision but I’m pretty sure that I’d take my friend.
This is Hide & Seek. I didn’t want to take this trip to Depression and I’m not particularly fond of being here. But reading this book is like being able to go there with my friend who makes me laugh.
Other books could tell me all of the different types of depression, what causes them and what treatments work. Of course we all read those books and they help a bit but a commiseratory laugh seems to help a heluva lot more.
Hide & Seek focuses on one year of Aron’s life in New York. The loose frame of the book is built when we learn that her therapist, upon whom she’s come to depend, might be moving to LA. Aron spends this year frantically trying all sorts of different solutions to losing such a valuable person in her life. She tries speed dating, assertiveness training, aromatherapy, etc. Each step in her journey is told in hilarious vignettes where she describes the bizarre solutions offered to her by even more bizarre people.
Aron’s had a rougher time of it than I have. My whiny little “mild” depression pales but when she says things like ‘we depressives react this way when that happens’ I can instantly identify. It’s nice laugh at depression with her; she lifts the darkness.