Mount Misery by Samuel Shem M.D.

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From the Laws of Mount Misery:

There are no laws in psychiatry.

Now, from the author of the riotous, moving, bestselling classic, The House of God, comes a lacerating and brilliant novel of doctors and patients in a psychiatric hospital. Mount Misery is a prestigious facility set in the rolling green hills of New England, its country club atmosphere maintained by generous corporate contributions. Dr. Roy Basch (hero of The House of God) is lucky enough to train there *only to discover doctors caught up in the circus of competing psychiatric theories, and patients who are often there for one main reason: they've got good insurance.

From the Laws of Mount Misery:

Your colleagues will hurt you more than your patients.

On rounds at Mount Misery, it's not always easy for Basch to tell the patients from the doctors: Errol Cabot, the drug cowboy whose practice provides him with guinea pigs for his imaginative prescription cocktails . . . Blair Heiler, the world expert on borderlines (a diagnosis that applies to just about everybody) . . . A. K. Lowell, née Aliyah K. Lowenschteiner, whose Freudian analytic technique is so razor sharp it prohibits her from actually speaking to patients . . . And Schlomo Dove, the loony, outlandish shrink accused of having sex with a beautiful, well-to-do female patient.

From the Laws of Mount Misery:

Psychiatrists specialize in their defects.

For Basch the practice of psychiatry soon becomes a nightmare in which psychiatrists compete with one another to find the best ways to reduce human beings to blubbering drug-addled pods, or incite them to an extreme where excessive rage is the only rational response, or tie them up in Freudian knots. And all the while, the doctors seem less interested in their patients' mental health than in a host of other things *managed care insurance money, drug company research grants and kickbacks, and their own professional advancement.

From the Laws of Mount Misery:

In psychiatry, first comes treatment, then comes diagnosis.

What The House of God did for doctoring the body, Mount Misery does for doctoring the mind. A practicing psychiatrist, Samuel Shem brings vivid authenticity and extraordinary storytelling gifts to this long-awaited sequel, to create a novel that is laugh-out-loud hilarious, terrifying, and provocative. Filled with biting irony and a wonderful sense of the absurd, Mount Misery tells you everything you'll never learn in therapy. And it's a hell of a lot funnier.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Samuel Shem M.D.

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Samuel Shem (Stephen Bergman, M.D.) graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College and earned a Ph.D. in physiology from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He graduated from Harvard Medical School. He is the author of the novels The House of God and Fine and seven plays, including, with Janet Surrey, Bill W. and Dr. Bob. He is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and the Stone Center, Wellesley College. He lives with his wife and five-year-old daughter near Boston.From the Paperback edition.
Published February 29, 2012 by Ballantine Books. 576 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Professional & Technical. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Dr. Roy Basch (protagonist of Shem's earlier novel) has decided to become a psychiatrist and is taken on at the prestigious Mount Misery, where, he quickly learns, ``psychiatrists specialize in their defects'' and ``the worst psychiatrists charge the most, and world experts are the worst.'' Shem ...

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Publishers Weekly

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Combining his experience as a psychiatrist with the literary toolbox of absurdist comedy, Shem sets in motion a carnival of fascinating secrets and terrible abuses of authority on the New England campus of Mount Misery psychiatric hospital, where the doctors are clearly much sicker than the patie...

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Entertainment Weekly

Mount Misery is fueled with manic energy and hilarious characters but, alas, suffers itself from a kind of literary multiple-personality disorder: part satire, part expose, and part coming-of-age tale.

Apr 25 1997 | Read Full Review of Mount Misery

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