👓 In 19th-century Vienna, Josef Breuer, one of the founding fathers of psychoanalysis accepts to treat Friedrich Nietzsche on the brink of suicidal despair. He agrees to use his experimental “talking cure”. What Breuer doesn’t know is that their sessions will tame his demons as well.
♥️ I liked:
👨 Breuer’s “talking cure”. Breuer is asked to treat Nietzsche with the “talking cure” he used with another patient: Bertha. He says that, during their sessions, this patient used to discharge all the disturbing events and thoughts of the last 24 hours. This seemed to help her condition. “In the future, this talking treatment could become commonplace. Angst doctors will become a standard speciality”. How right was he!
📙 Breuer and Nietzsche sessions. During their discussions, they touch on so many points that make the reader think. I’ve never highlighted so many sentences in a book before! I particularly appreciated this: “Extreme isolation doesn’t eliminate stress but is, in itself, stress.”
🤩 The turn of events. I’m not going into details here: no spoilers. But towards the end of the book, I was just blown away!
Freud. In the book, he is one of Breuer’s closest friends. We see him, at the beginning of his career, trying to give meaning to his friends’ dreams. A brief glance into another great mind.
🔖 The explanation of what Historical Fiction is. “Fiction is history that might have happened. Given the very improbable history of psychotherapy, all the events in this book could have come to pass.”
🤔 I wasn’t so sure about:
The role of women. In this book, no female character is depicted in a good way. Lou Salomé is an opportunist, Bertha the same. Nietzsche’s sister is incredibly mean, and Breuer’s wife is seen as the obstacle to his freedom. Not flattering for women, is it?
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5/5 A great book that I didn’t think I would have liked. But it made me reflect a lot and appreciate how crucial the role of philosophy and psychology can be in everyday’s life.