In Need of Therapy – Review
Tracie Banister’s In Need of Therapy is a book full of heart. Set in the dynamic landscape of Miami, it is the story of Dr. Pilar Alvarez, a young, intelligent and compassionate psychologist balancing the (sometimes) competing worlds of her professional and personal lives.
Pilar’s clients are a handful. With an array of mental health issues that test her expertise and patience, Pilar remains committed to guiding them towards the road of emotional well-being. Unfortunately for the talented psychologist, her own family is equally challenging.
Her mother Luisa is a high maintenance drama queen. Luisa wants to see Pilar married. Mrs. Alvarez doesn’t understand why her daughter doesn’t seem to appreciate the romantic vision she has for her.
But the elder Alvarez also has her hands full with wayward youngest daughter Izzy. If Pilar inherited the responsibility gene, Izzy corners the market for being a free spirit. Izzy pushes the envelope to her mother’s dismay leaving Pilar in the unwelcome position of playing mediator.
Banister does a fabulous job fleshing out her characters’ motivations. In addition, her talent as a writer makes it possible for her to elevate Izzy as a character who is still capable of garnering sympathy. Does Izzy make poor decisions? Yes. Does Izzy seem ungrateful to her family? Yes. Yet, there’s something about the way Banister writes Izzy that produces reader sympathy for the character.
Further, it is amazing how skilled Banister is at handling a full roster of supporting characters without missing a beat. Her dialogue is wonderful. She gives each character a distinct voice.
Finally, Banister is to be applauded at the way her book addresses the Cuban American culture. The Alvarez women are written with layers rather than predictable and one dimensional. Throughout the book, Banister offers Spanish phrases that lend an authentic flavor to the plot. The great thing, though, is that the use of Spanish doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the story but enhances it.
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I give this book: