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Mental Disorders

by Mimi E. Gotist
HarperSanFrancisco, 2003
Review by Patricia Ferguson, Psy.D. on Nov 3rd 2004

Enough About You

When I requested this book to review I neglected to notice the author's name, missing an important clue. This book is a spoof on narcissism, or at least a spoof on what someone thinks narcissism is. This was unfortunate for me, because I had hoped for a really useful book on narcissism that narcissists could read for help. I thought it would be humorous, but accurate at the same time. But that is not the case. I guess the positive side of this is that perhaps there is a need for such a book and I could write it myself!

But let me tell you a bit about this book. It turns out, first of all, that "Mimi" is a man. Which is interesting because one of my peeves about the book was that I thought it was using too many examples with women as the narcissist when research shows that 50-75% of narcissists are actually male. I knew this to be true clinically, and I also looked it up in the Diagnostic Manual just to make sure I was correct. So why make this book by a "woman" narcissist, writing about more "women" narcissists? Well, I guess this particular narcissist is sexist as well.

Also disappointing to me is this book really doesn't offer any information for the layperson who is not educated about mental disorders. Even a joke book could have used the correct criteria in their examples if they chose to. Maybe if the author had done that, I would have found the book more usable. Narcissists don't often go to therapy on their own, but they might read a clever book about it, and in the process recognize themselves and/or realize that perhaps they should seek help.

After realizing that this wasn't the book I thought it was, I tried putting aside any notions of what the book should do or say, and tried to read it from a different perspective. Since the book is intended to be funny, I suspended judgment about correctness of information, and just read it for the humor. Nope, that didn't work either. Not for me, anyway. However, I did have a layperson read it, and he (not a narcissist himself) found it humorous. So perhaps there is an audience that would enjoy this book more than I did.

So, I will just summarize the gist of the book, and you can read it if you want, and decide for yourself. The book starts out with a "Me-Quiz" which as far as I know is not based on anything but the author's idea of narcissism. The reason I say this is that if a reader takes the test, the results are not clinically relevant, but simply a fun test. From there, the book covers issues of spirituality, sex, marriage, parenting,, career, health and fitness, and personal growth.

While some of the book's comments are true about narcissists, and can be funny, the reader should read this book for what it is: a comedy about self-centered people. You can decide if you think it is funny. Humor is subjective and while I didn't find it funny, it had some good points. . So I will leave that decision up to the reader.

 

2004 Patricia Ferguson

 

Patricia Ferguson, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist who has many years of experience in both the private practice sector and in community mental health. She has numerous publications, the most recent being in Girl Wars by Cheryl Dellasaga, PhD, and Clarisse Nixon, PhD. She also contributed to a book on adult female aggression to be published in 2005. She is an author working on a book of memoirs regarding relationships between therapists. She and her husband and son reside in northern California.