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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fusion of brows (middle and high)
David Lodge writes in such a breezy, amusing fashion that you might not think to look for anything more in _Therapy_ than a funny story about a neurotic middle aged guy. But, in fact, there is a lot going on in this book. Kierkegaard is not merely added to the plot as some sort of comic device to indicate that Tubby Passmore is off his head. This book actually...
Published on October 12, 1999 by Bill Chaisson

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but he's done better
Lodge's latest novel isn't bad, but I have the feeling that it doesn't quite make it -as SMALL WORLD had indeed done. THERAPY is narrated in first person, the protagonist being "Tubby" Passmore, a sitcom writer whose life (beginning with his marriage) starts to shatter (consistently) at the beginning of the novel. It is a mid-life crisis, and Lodge makes a...
Published on December 18, 1997


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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fusion of brows (middle and high), October 12, 1999
By 
This review is from: Therapy (Paperback)
David Lodge writes in such a breezy, amusing fashion that you might not think to look for anything more in _Therapy_ than a funny story about a neurotic middle aged guy. But, in fact, there is a lot going on in this book. Kierkegaard is not merely added to the plot as some sort of comic device to indicate that Tubby Passmore is off his head. This book actually explains how the thought of the "father of existentialism" is relevant to our lives in the late, late 20th century.
There is a fair amount of social class consciousness in _Therapy_. Tubby is from the working class but has made a fortune by writing a successful television series. In a certain sense he is the best that we can hope for from the nouveau riche: he is humane in spite of his wealth. His wife came from genteel poverty and has aged into a rather severe and vain woman. His friend Amy has risen from the working middle class into the show biz upper middle and more fully embraces the materialism and pretension than does Tubby. The quest to rediscover the whereabouts of his childhood girlfriend combines the themes of existentialism and class consciousness in a way that is both effortless and admirable.
The entire book is told from Tubby's point of view, written in the form of a journal and monologues. His reliability as a narrator is called into question by the content of the monologues until you realize who the author is. A very clever narrative device, but not overly clever. You don't feel manipulated because of the revelations that it produces.
I think perhaps that the only reason I have for not giving the book 5 stars is that I am not yet middle aged and so I didn't experience the Internal Derangement of the Mind that I might if (or when) I read this book 20 years from now.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Depressingly good, August 27, 2002
By 
tertius3 (MI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Therapy (Paperback)
This is the humorous(!) story of a man's progress through utter depression to reconciliation with his primitive self. TV writer Tubby Passmore's rich life is falling apart, and we follow him through various trendy therapies right to the bottom. The specific prick to action is painful spasms of Mr. Passmore's knee as he tries to write his way out of a sitcom impasse. By the middle of this book he is so far gone in obsessive self-absorption that we can see his ultimate flailings only through the eyes of astonished onlookers: his wife, his Platonic lover, a script assistant, etc. A new obsession with Kierkegaard's "Existentialism" becomes a core concept in Passmore's therapeutic journal of dreaded indecision and regret. That this story of a midlife Englishman's depression is hilarious yet touching is testament to the author's skill. Wonderfully, precisely written, droll to a T, it is funny on the surface in a way comprehensible to an American (compared to Anthony Powell's humour, say). By the conclusion Passmore appears to be his old cheeky self (who was already missing as this story began), an uptempo recovery from complacency and scary mid-life crises that parallels a Continental journey from sceptical Denmark to credulous Spain.
A cute stylistic trick is to have Passmore "look up" the meaning of any unusual key word the author introduces. We learn something that way (although not ordinary Briticisms like wanker, clanger, kefuffle, yonks, phutted and pong, gazump and gobsmacked). It's curious how many out-of-print versions are listed for this book. My copy... has an unusual leathery-soft cover and rough yellowing pages; reminds me of fragile post-war Penquin books, tattered British "pulps."
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Choosing oneself, June 28, 2003
By 
This review is from: Therapy (Paperback)
This is an excellent novel by a master of the comic serious, David Lodge. The story is covered in the back cover and other reviews, but I would add that the meaning of this novel and its structure are among the most innovative and genuinely engaging I have seen. Many postmodern novels, a term at which no doubt David Lodge would wince, are structured to allow the reader to impose his own understanding of the facts through intricate structures; but rarely are they deeply engaging. The average comic novel, though entertaining, has little to say. This work has both an elusive structure and engaging comic touches. It also has something important to say. It has the potential to become a work read 50 to 100 years from now despite the topical references to mid 1990's Britain. I won't spoil it for you because all will be revealed. Suffice it to say that our protagonist chooses to live in the present rejecting the despair of the unrecoverable past and the hopeless future.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Therapy, anyone?, March 6, 2001
This review is from: Therapy (Paperback)
what i loved about this book was that david lodge took a character that was worthy of contempt and made me sympathize with him...the story is a first person journal told by Laurence " Tubby " Passmore, with other dialogues from friends and and ex-wife. while tubby seems to have it all: a great job, a nice home, fancy car, a big bank account, and a loving wife, he feels empty; and then it all comes apart : his wife leaves him, telling him, she couldn't stand him, his job as a scriptwriter for a sitcom is catapulted into a state of flux and and he starts to doubt his sexual worth...so what does he do? dabbles in exstitentialism...without giving away the rest of the story, the book can serve as an introduction to kierkegaarde for the layman. tubby uses kierkegaarde-ian philosophy and applies it to his life, using it as his moral compass, to guide himself through his turmoil....
several twists happen: tubby befriends a homeless man named grahame, who sleeps on the porch of his london flat, and he goes in search of a lost love. this book tells about therapy in its many forms: writing,telling your soul to someone, or taking a journey to " find yourself " lodge takes a heady subject like exstitentialism and makes it souffle-light and easy to digest...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Satire and sensitivity in a happy marriage, May 20, 2003
By 
Shirley A. Phillips "ocee" (Lawrence, KS United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Therapy (Paperback)
But the only happy marriage in this novel is the one between satire and sensitivity. I had expected comedy and satire throughout, but, though Lodge gives us a good dose of it, the book turns poignant and touching. I think I was in love with Maureen by the conclusion. I read the book initially with reluctance because it had been, as I viewed it, foisted off on me by a book club. I ended thoroughly caught up and engrossed, even shaken at times. I am in that book. He did he know me?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Neurosis Rules, OK!, April 22, 2011
This review is from: Therapy (Paperback)
David Lodge

Therapy

There are always strong autobiographical strains in Lodge's fiction, so much so that the conflation of author and character bemuses and might even inhibit immersion into the fictional world. The ageing narrator in Deaf Sentence, for instance, is a semi-retired academic, a specialist in linguistics and English Literature. Like his author he suffers the agonies of not being what he used to be, plus the suspected ridicule of others, feelings of redundancy, deafness and all the impotent symptoms of the `male menopause.' He inhabits a midland town, as does the professor in Nice Work, and the cityscape is pretty obviously a simulacrum of Lodge's own Birmingham. Campus life is endemic to Professor Lodge's fiction.

In Therapy we are once again in Rummidge (i.e. Birmingham), but this time our linguistically-obsessed narrator is a television script writer - Lodge ringing the changes by drawing upon his experiences with the dramatisation of Nice Work. As ever, marital conflict looms large, as the obsessed writer strives to reconcile the demands of work and domestic life. Laurence `Tubby' Passmore, however, carries his neuroses to extremes, undergoing treatment from his GP, a psychoanalyst, an aroma-therapist, a sex therapist,, an acupuncturist, various drugs and almost any young female who can relieve him of his feelings of inadequacy. `Tubby' is so obviously a paranoid neurotic that his life is constantly in tatters. If you divorce you'll regret it, if you don't divorce you'll regret it. Divorce or don't divorce you'll regret both. Small wonder that he finds comfort in Kierkegaard, the author of Either/Or. Of course, nobody who is capable of writing as fluently, perceptively and humorously as Lodge could be as dysfunctional as Laurence - dysfunctional, except that, as `Tubby' the narrator, he is capable of earning a small fortune by writing a sit-com The People Next Door, which, while pure soap rubbish, seems for a time to have a large viewing public by the throat. Not that Laurence is ever recognised as the author - he is but an essential cog in a vast popular machine.

Always readable, always funny and inventive, this as an immensely enjoyable novel. At one point, Lodge seems to move away from relaying Laurence's journal to presenting us with several internal monologues by his intimates, but this, rather cleverly, turns out to be yet another therapy recommended by one of his practitioners - an attempt to see himself as others might see him. The concluding third of the book, begins with `Tubby' desperately attempting to revive an old love affair, whose subject seems to be the answer to a reject's prayer. Reminiscent of the obsessive return to an old romance experienced by the narrator of Iris Murdoch's The Sea, The Sea, this twist provides an additional tension and a somewhat sobering but not desperately sad ending to a fine book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something to look forward to, February 18, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Therapy (Paperback)
As an American female twenty something, why would I want to read about a British middle aged male? The answer is because from Tubby's perspective I can see how the middle of one's life is only the beginning. David Lodge has created a hysterical novel. Yet his in-depth look at what happens when one's life falls apart demonstrates how enjoyable it can be to pick up the pieces.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but he's done better, December 18, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Therapy (Paperback)
Lodge's latest novel isn't bad, but I have the feeling that it doesn't quite make it -as SMALL WORLD had indeed done. THERAPY is narrated in first person, the protagonist being "Tubby" Passmore, a sitcom writer whose life (beginning with his marriage) starts to shatter (consistently) at the beginning of the novel. It is a mid-life crisis, and Lodge makes a considerable effort at humour with that material, with uneven results. I had the impression that all this had been done before, with much more being said. The anti-hero narrated in first person, his/her life falling apart, heading towards a real, irreversible mess, but at the same time sort of making a joke of himself (herself), laughing off pathetically as he/she approaches precipice, on the verge of a major collapse... This resource has been used widely to depict either middle-age crisis, adolescent ones, or late-life conundrums. As such it is hardly an original approach, but it can be an effective one. The names that instantly spring to my mind to my mind are those of filmmaker Woody Allen (or, for that matter, any stand-up comedian), and writers as diverse as J.D.Salinger, Charles Bukowski or Jay McInerney. THERAPY, however, doesn't quite stand up to these standards. I found myself laughing off my seat with Woody Allen in Hannah and her sisters, I found very funny Holden Caulfield and Henry Chinaski and Allison Poole (main characters in novels of the authors aforementioned). The problem with Lawrence "Tubby" Passmore is that, exceptions aside (and there are some good ones, though few), what you get is not sheer humour but David Lodge's (in my opinion) too obvious attempt and effort at it. Besides that point -not an insignificant one-, it should be said that the book is very well written (but what else could be expected from a pro?), and -importantly- that it has a SUPERB,classy ending -superb not only in its unexpectedness- and on which I shall not further comment... But put to choose, I find "Small World" exhilarating, intelligently funny in comparison -and in itself- and if you haven't read any of the two, I would go for that one. Therapy is not entirely flawed, but it was a slight disappointment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Therapy is Theraputic, March 11, 2009
By 
Jennifer Lichtenfeld (Silver Spring, Maryland USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Therapy (Hardcover)
Lawrence Passmore, known to everyone as Tubby, is a depressed, middle-aged man in the suburbs of London. He doesn't know why he is depressed as he seems to have everything going for him: a smart, attractive wife, accomplished, grown children, an extremely successful tv career, and a beautiful suburban home. But somehow this isn't enough. Even his physical body is complaining in the form of knee pain that the doctors cannot seem to properly diagnose. What follows is a narration by Tubby of his trials and tribulations. His past, present, and depressing woes. He practically creates a life for himself in which nothing can go right.

To solve his life's problems, Tubby seeks out every kind of therapist you can possibly find. He engages in mental therapy, physical therapy, aromatherapy, and acupunture to name a few. When his wife leaves him he seeks out the physical companionship of the women that he knows, only to be rebuked which leads to erectile disfunction. Nothing is going right for poor Tubby who takes to writing in a journal as an outlet for his problems. This writing exercise may just be the thing he needs as he becomes introspective and finds a focus for his energy that may lead him out of his depression.

This is a fun novel despite the dreary plot line. The writing is humorous and light and the reader cannot help but sympathize with Tubby to a certain extent despite thinking that he is a pathetic mess who has created his depression himself. British humor is often more subtle and dry than other types and this novel is no exception. If you find the wry sense of humor funny, than you will very much enjoy this book.
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16 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book review of "Therapy" by David Lodge, January 31, 2000
By 
This review is from: Therapy (Paperback)
I would like to review of "Therapy" by David Lodge, a post-modernist writer, who is also Honorary Professor of Modern English Literature at Birmingham and a famous literary critic. "Therapy" is the first book I have read by this author and it made a deep impression on me for Lodge's excellent writing skills. My attention was immediately captured and held throughout the novel. The book is a brilliant, hilarious, first-person introspection, an exceptionally moving story that leaves the reader laughing and thinking at the same time. The main character is Tubby Passmore, a successful TV sitcom screenwriter whose creeping mid-life crisis has turned him into a therapy-addict. With the help of Kierkegaard's philosophy, which promoted the centrality of individual choice, he tries to get rid of his latent ANGST. All the other characters are so amazingly well developed that I had a clear picture of them in my mind. I think that the meeting with the pious Maureen, Tubby's first girlfriend, and the final, clarifying exchange of views with the self-assured Sally, his athletic ex-wife, are the most resolutive, turning point of his life, because they give Tubby the opportunity to reflect on his past years, on his mistakes, and push him to understand himself better and to find the key to his problems. In conformity with post-modernist techniques, Lodge uses here different styles, in which he gradually reflects the change in point of view. The language is however very simple and colloquial, although hilariously amusing. I would suggest this book to anybody who is looking for an intelligent, involving and, at the same time, funny book, because "Therapy" is a well written comic story with a strong moral teaching which captures the spirit of human subconscious.
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Therapy
Therapy by David Lodge (Paperback - July 1, 1996)
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