If you see the name John Cleese, you might be expecting belly laughs. You might enjoy the occasional smile, and you won't get bored, but you won't be rolling around on the floor laughing. I don't say that to put you offjust manage your expectations.
This book will open your eyes to the way in which families work, but as I've already indicated, it shouldn't be read just the once. The first time I read it was shortly after my first child was born. It gave me some insights that I hadn't expected as well as shedding some light on my own childhood. But a few years later, I was aware of some behaviour from my children (I had two by this time) that kind of rang a bell with me, but I couldn't remember why it was happening. Hence the second read, and that became a recurring pattern.
A fantastic book that has the potential to change your lifeif only because you might see your life differently. Strongly recommend it
This is one fantastic book! Everyone needs a little bit of psychotherapy and I feel like this book can offer you a lot of information about why we are the way we are. So, if you want to understand yourself, your parents, your partner, your friends... If you want to deal with some things from the past, if you are in a love relationship... If you're becoming to be a parent or already are one... Don't waste a second and read this book!! Excellent. Written as conversations between John Cleese (of Fawlty Towers fame) and his family therapist, Robin Skynner. This book looks at psychiatry for the layman, in terms of why some people are happy while others aren't; why some people have repressed emotions, and what happens to them; what can cause people to become 'stuck' in their development from babyhood.
I don't agree with every wordthe recommendations about strict discipline for children seem overharsh to me, for instancebut much of what's said is revelatory and fascinating. I first read this about twelve years ago, and found it extremely helpful in understanding my sons better. Even now, as an emptynester, I can see a lot of value in this for selfhelp, and figuring out how people tick and why some are easier to get along with than othersquite apart from their different personality preferences.
The humour is decidedly 'British', and a nonBritish friend once told me that she simply didn't get the cartoons, which she even found mildly offensive in places. Take it with a pinch of saltbut if you ever wanted to know why some families get along and others don't, in broad terms, I'd recommend this book highly. This book was a bit hard for me to get through. Perhaps psychology isn't my thing. But I got interested towards the end, once it got into all of the sexual identity stuff. I also wonder if psychiatrists etc even still have these same beliefs, since the book was written almost 30 years ago now. But I will read anything John Cleese has anything to do with and that is the cross I have to bear. It is particularly interesting how psychoterapy tends to make itself religionlike by owing virtually all inconveniencies of human personality to such early a childhood that no method of proving particular behavior of patient or patient's parents in that period exists. Still, no verifiable explanations of various pathologic and/or semipathologic states. This book contains a bunch of unconventional ideas, though without solid proof of them, therefore my rating is only 3*. Amazing! It's unbelievable how common sensical most things seem and how most (if not all) situations described remind one of personal experience or of that of people around them.
Having a baby and a toddler in the family, I can honestly say that they will benefit from the fact that both parents have read the book. If you have little children and want to know what is going on in their head, this is a good start...
If you want to know why you married the partner you are married to, this is a good start too... Oof. I think this may be a brilliant example of remembering what's valuable and forgetting the rest. I remember reading this book years ago and finding the discussions of how and why we replicate family relationships and how we are drawn to people hiding the same problems as ourselves fascinating. And so they are still. But I'd completely forgotten the outdated ideas about the causes of depression, autism or schizophrenia; the positivity around fairly strict 'innate' gender roles and the snark about feminists; the distinctly oldfashioned ideas around homosexuality and transexuality; the approval of strict parenting attitudes, and much more. There are some great ideas in here still, and the dialogue format is very engaging and easy to read, but reading it from thirtyish years later, be prepared to discard a lot as you go. Absolute must read for any amateur psychology enthusiast who wants to understand their own development and how their family's influenced them and their relationships.