From Caroline Comeaux Lee’s Review on PsychCentral

Riveting. Humorous. Quirky. Satirical. In other words, I could not put it down. At times funny and others deeply unnerving, Shrunk takes a satirical look at the people who are a part of the psychotherapy profession. . .

What makes this book so superb is that Hogart is not writing from the perspective of a disgruntled or skeptical client. Behind his penname, the author has spent years as a practicing psychotherapist. According to his website, he has also served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School.  I am not sure that there is a better position to be in to write such a novel. . .

Within three chapters, I was intrigued. By one hundred pages, I was engrossed and anxious to find out what would happen…

By two hundred pages, I had lost count of the number of times I chuckled, was surprised, or felt infuriated for the Avalons. For those who believe that all therapists are crazy, Hogart’s novel will give them a quintessential example to point to. For everyone else, Shrunk is an enjoyable, entertaining, and humorous dark glimpse into the world of psychiatry.

PsychCentral  Reviewed by CAROLINE COMEAUX LEE

Reviews on Amazon

Shrunk (Paperback) – Amazon review

Practioners of psychotherapy often think of themselves as artists–after all isn’t psychotherapy an “art?” But not too deep beneath the surface of this artistic delusion is a tumultuous world of pettiness, pretentions, back-stabbing, psychopathy and other shmutz that make Christopher Hogart’s satiric takedown of the profession a delight to read. I found myself re-reading sections of the book just to better savor the words and the images they evoked. Hogarth’s intention is not to demolish the psychotherapeitic profession. Rather he intends to humanize it by demonstrating that practitioners share the same slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that for better or worse all of us experience. Shrunk is a fun read. Buy and enjoy it.

eskay

 

Shrunk, Chris Hogart’s first novel, takes academic psychiatrists off the pedestal and into real life. The result: “Shrinks” are “shrunk”, and once the veneer of academic and professional pretentions is removed, some strange characters appear. Prendergast, older and established, turns out to be abusive with his patients and malicious as a human being, while his counterpart, Avalon, is a decent chap but a tad naïve and impulsive. The explosive chemistry between the two permeates their personal lifes and nearly destroys their careers. In his satire Hogart mocks the narrow-minded fondness of promotions and status in this community of academic psychiatrists. But beyond that, Hogart uses humor as a tool and finds an effective way to expose things that have to be said about modern psychiatry. A page turner!

Tullio

From Jill Allen’s Review of Shrunk in ForeWord Reviews

Hogart deftly exposes the foibles of [the mental health] profession using larger-than-life characterization and biting humor.

…Attempts to pathologize normal behavior via pompous speeches and articles will make readers chuckle.

…Anyone familiar with the controversy about the realness of ADHD or Asperger syndrome will see the humor and the critique of [Affect Deficiency Syndrome].

[Hogart] excels at characterization, critique, and humor .  .  .  anyone seeking broad humor and an expansive satire of psychiatry should read Shrunk.

Jill Allen, ForeWord Reviews

 

Shrunk

How helpful are psychiatric diagnoses and the treatments they dictate to real people in their real lives?  How much do they help us in our love and work?

A degree of skepticism is in order regarding psychiatry’s diagnoses and grasp of human nature.  Articles raising this concern have appeared in the NY Times: See Nugent’s “I had Asperger Syndrome – Briefly” (January 31, 2012); Wallis’s “On Aspergers, A Vanishing Diagnosis” (November 2, 2009); and Louis Menand’s piece in the New Yorker, “Head Case – Can Psychiatry Be A Science” (March 1, 2010). In “The reliability of Psychiatric Diagnosis” by Phillip Ash, fifty-two mental patients were examined by three well-known psychiatrists, all three psychiatrists reached the same diagnosis only 20% of the time, and two were in agreement less than half the time.

Are diagnosis, treatment, cure, and life itself confused in the way psychiatry thinks about them? Treatments aren’t always cures. Can diagnoses reduce us from whole human beings to “target symptoms?” What’sgoing on inside us, the workings of the heart and mind, are not an exact science. Science helps, but attempts to make our limited understanding more than it is can lead to pseudo science. Still, our inner lives are worlds worth exploring – an exploration that never loses its value. The means of exploration include not just science, but talk, essays, poetry, novels .  .  . or you could just read Shrunk.