Next Therapist Please

Romance - Comedy
220 Pages
Reviewed on 04/19/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Laurie Beth Finkelstein lives far enough north from Los Angeles to enjoy a slightly slower pace, but not far enough away to escape the traffic. Laurie shares her life with a husband, two grown sons, and two cats, thankfully not all living in the same house.

Her debut novel, Next Therapist Please while fictional, mirrors many aspects of her life. Most important, living with depression, anxiety and OCD has presented challenges as well as occasional comic relief in Laurie’s life.

Next Therapist Please hopes to smash the stigma of mental illness one laugh at a time.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Next Therapist Please is a semi-autobiographical romantic comedy written by Laurie Finkelstein. Janie Weiss was thrilled with how well her paintings had been received. Her agent, Angie, was getting her work exposure in art galleries where her use of color and innovative mixed media was garnering high praise and enough sales to make gallery owners want to keep her work in stock. What Janie didn’t like so much was the meeting and greeting aspect of those showings, where she was called upon by Angie to interact with those who had come to see, and buy, her work. Janie suffers from social anxiety and is very much more of a listener than a speaker. She is also prone to consider the innumerable things that can go wrong in any venture or action she undertakes. The opening she was attending that night was particularly stressful, and Janie felt panic rising at the endless stream of small talk and social niceties. While Angie, as always, was supportive and reassuring, Janie still wondered just how much more she could take. Then she noticed a familiar face in the well-dressed crowd. He was tall and slender and wore his tux with an elegant ease -- it was Dr. Rob, therapist #6. Five years earlier, he had decided to retire, and his sudden announcement ending their session left her feeling dumped and rejected. He had been dreamy and just a bit too attractive then, and he still was. Suddenly Janie felt that connection with him start up all over again. Dr. Rob was someone very special indeed, and he seemed to want to get to know her.

Laurie Finkelstein’s romantic comedy, Next Therapist Please, has its light and breezy moments, as romantic comedies invariably do, but there’s a lot more to this well-written and enjoyable novel. Janie’s social anxiety leads her to encounters with six different therapists, and the author deftly guides the reader through the varying types of therapy a person with anxiety may encounter. Some of those therapists seem to do little more than utter bland responses to endless monologues, while others, particularly those who teach Janie coping skills and cognitive behavioral responses, shine out as heroic, illuminating and wise. Finkelstein also gifts her readers with the marvelous ambiance of Balboa Island in Southern California, where Janie lives in the perfect waterfront cottage, filled with light and air, and featuring a raised brick courtyard where Janie loves to read in one of her Adirondack chairs and watch the bay, the Ferris Wheel on the boardwalk, and the endless stream of tourists who flock to the island during the area’s high season. Finkelstein’s memories of that area that stem from her own experiences there make Janie’s life feel authentic and real, and the author almost instantly had me longing for a trip out to the coast and Balboa Island. Next Therapist Please will delight romantic comedy fans, but it’s also most highly recommended as an insightful contemporary fiction novel that addresses mental health and the issues and challenges the mentally ill face every day.