Good Morning, Monster: A Therapist Shares Five Heroic Stories of Emotional Recovery

Catherine Gildiner

In this fascinating narrative, therapist Catherine Gildiner's presents five of what she calls her most heroic and memorable patients. Among them: a successful, first generation Chinese immigrant musician suffering sexual dysfunction; a young woman whose father abandoned her at age nine with her younger siblings in an isolated cottage in the depth of winter; and a glamorous workaholic whose narcissistic, negligent mother greeted her each morning of her childhood with Good morning, Monster. Each patient presents a mystery, one that will only be unpacked over years. more

NonfictionPsychologySelf HelpMental HealthMemoirAudiobookBiographyHealthAdultSocial Work

368 pages, Hardcover
First published St. Martin's Press

4.46

Rating

36436

Ratings

3531

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Catherine Gildiner

8 books 479 followers

Catherine has written two best selling memoirs. The first is called TOO CLOSE TO THE FALLS and was on the best seller's lists for two years. It is about working full time from the age of four.

Her next memoir AFTER THE FALLS covers her teenage and college years where she got involved in civil rights and was investigated by the FBI.

COMING ASHORE, her final memoir is coming out this fall. It is about her years at Oxford, The U.S. and finally Canada. This book shares the joy of those few years in your twenties after you leave home and before Adult responsibilities crowd in.

She has also written a novel, SEDUCTION, a thriller about Darwin and Freud. It was chosen by DER SPIEGAL as one of the ten best mysteries.

She is a unique writer in that she was a psychologist for many years and only became a writer at the age of 50. Shows anything is possible.

She lives in Toronto with her husband and has three grown sons.

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Community reviews

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Regina
1139 reviews
3942 followers
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I recently wrapped up my 3-star review of the uber-popular Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by saying maybe I should talk to someone…else. Well, I found her, and she’s a monster. As of today, Lori Gottlieb’s therapy-themed memoir has 151,322 GR ratings. Meanwhile, Catherine Gildiner’s lesser-known Good Morning, Monster only has 2,251. I hope I can change that. more


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Christine
608 reviews
1268 followers
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5 giant stars. My streak of outstanding reads continues. Though I have only read 31 books this year, the number of 5 stars books amongst that lot is remarkable. And the streak continues with Good Morning Monster. This book is simply phenomenal. more


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Nina
306 reviews
124 followers
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If you are looking for a book that tells you in detail what a therapist thinks about her clients and how she tries to help solve their problems, and you also want to read the tragic but true stories of people who were abandoned, neglected, suffered different forms of abuse, this could be the book for you. First of all, Good Morning, Monster is heart-breaking, because the book tells the stories of real people and the horrors they had to endure over long periods of time. There are so many abysmal things these men and women went through that I found it hard to read on at times. The book made me cry more than once, and since the stories told are at times rather detailed, it is sometimes a long way in each story until you see the success, if you want to, you can call that the happy ending. And there are definitely many descriptions that might trigger you, if you have a history of abuse, neglect, assault or trauma. more


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Melissa (Away For a Mini-Vacay)
4727 reviews
2394 followers
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Intensely brutal, but insightful memoir of five patients treated by a clinical psychologist. This was my book club choice for February. I chose it because I loved Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed, loved the different insights into therapy. This book is similar, yet also different. If you're going to choose to read this book, realize that it has many things discussed in detail that could be triggering and traumatic. more


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Samantha
10 reviews
2 followers
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A therapist's account of five of her most thought-provoking patients, I would have liked to have more information about the process of obtaining consent and/or obscuring personal details enough to maintain the patients' anonymity. Consent is touched on in the author's note, but when the author mentions talking about the book with her patients throughout the text, the exchange sounds more like Catherine Gildiner telling the patients they will be included rather than asking permission. One of the patients has since passed away, so I wonder how he was able to consent to sharing his story. All of the cases feature victims of extreme child abuse and sexual violence, and are therefore hard to read. I found the first two stories heartbreaking but inspirational. more


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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
2265 reviews
31395 followers
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Wow. This book. It should be on your radar. I have not yet read Lori Gottlieb’s insightful hit, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, though it’s waiting on my shelf, so I can’t make any comparisons, but I can tell you that Gottlieb blurbed this beautiful book. Available next week. more


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Olive Fellows (abookolive)
655 reviews
5506 followers
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Since reading Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed last year, I've been so eager to find something similar. I fell prey to the marketing for Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life, and, for some twisted reason, I actually finished that awful book despite it being one of the most cringey reading experiences I've ever had the displeasure of going through. Not only did it not quench my thirst for another Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, it nearly put me off of the idea of books centering around therapists for good. But lo and behold, there was ANOTHER book about a therapist being released around the same time as Group, it's just that the Whiskey in a Teacup lady didn't choose it for her book club and the publisher didn't rain copies down on Bookstagrammers so it didn't get half the hype as Group did. Friends, this one is worlds better than Group. more


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Elyse Walters
4010 reviews
11177 followers
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Thoughts later . I am on a dirt trail and I’m going to lose service soon. Parts were good. very good. Yet. more


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Kim Miller-Davis
157 reviews
10 followers
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I loved Gildiner’s three memoirs and was excited to see she had another book coming out. Because I worked as a counselor for several years, reading a Gildiner memoir about her years as a therapist seemed right up my alley. Unfortunately, not only was I disappointed, I actually found a large swath of the book distasteful. In the prologue, Gildiner tells us that in order to portray her clients as heroes she must first give us insight into the darkness of their formative years—a psychological version of the rags to riches motif. She asserts that this is an uncomfortable, but necessary, journey. more


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Dianne
573 reviews
1147 followers
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My undergraduate degree is in psychology, so I’m always interested in books about psychotherapy and the resilience of human mind in the face of trauma and abuse. This excellent book examines five heroic and memorable patients of Dr. Catherine Gildiner. This book is full of triggers - psychological and sexual abuse, cruelty, abandonment - yet it is ultimately extremely uplifting and deeply moving. Highly recommend - very well and thoughtfully written. more


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Krista
1437 reviews
685 followers
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Madeline would try to sneak potato chips into her room between restaurant meals; every morning when she'd round the back servant stairs to the kitchen, hoping for some breakfast before school, her mother would greet her by saying, “Good morning, monster. ” Then she would accuse her of skulking for food. Yet the restaurant meals were never sufficient, since Charlotte would force Madeline to say she wasn't hungry. Her mother would say, “One day when you're not a fat pig, you'll thank me. ” Catherine Gildiner practised psychotherapy for twenty-five years (before retiring to concentrate on creative writing, which led to her three well-received memoirs and one novel), and in her latest nonfiction effort, Good Morning, Monster, Gildiner describes the therapeutic histories of five patients whose journeys to recovery she describes as “heroic”. more


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Antigone
535 reviews
770 followers
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Canadian therapist Catherine Gildiner, retired after twenty-five years of practice in clinical psychology, draws five patients forward from her files to illustrate what it means to be a hero. She goes so far as to say that if the common complainers were aware of this level of struggle, it might quickly put their problems into perspective. These five, she determines, were actual psychic warriors. There is Laura, who was abandoned in a cabin as a child and sought to hide that fact from the world as she stepped into the role of parent for her younger siblings. There is Peter, the son of immigrants, who was consigned nearly from birth to years spent alone in a room above the family restaurant; years that left him with developmental deficits harsh enough to deny him the intimacy he so required as an adult. more


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Sonja Arlow
1121 reviews
7 followers
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Last year I listened to and LOVED Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed and although this one definitely has a more serious tone I still found the 5 cases presented fascinating. Had it not been for a friends recommendation I never would have thought to try another book on psychology. Each case presented is quite different and unique. From a woman with recurring herpes outbreaks because of stress, to a Native American man who cannot show emotion. They all have one thing in common, showing that trauma, abuse, neglect can induce destructive triggers but it also shows the indomitable human spirit to overcome adversity. more


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Smita
140 reviews
17 followers
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I started this book because I really enjoyed Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed, and thought this would be similar. The book was interesting at first, but rapidly degenerated into what ultimately came across as a horrifying breach of confidence and trust, and capitalizing on the horrors of others' lives for the shock and awe value of it - offering details about each patient's abuse to the point of salaciousness, not just offering context for their treatment and progress. Instead, the book is made up of “trauma porn,” blithe admissions of the author’s own mistakes in treating these patients, weirdly fawning over the patients at times, and other times glorifying herself as a savior or substitute maternal figure. I'm not a psychologist so I can't necessarily speak to ethical boundaries, but it did feel like the treatment as depicted in the book was frequently toeing the line, and certainly crossing over into impropriety at the very least. The book starts with an Author's Note about seeking the patients' consent (which is described in each patient's section and appears to be more the author informing them that she is writing about them in a "case study" - i. more


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jenny✨
578 reviews
889 followers
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i didn't enjoy how this book handled the case about peter, the chinese-canadian client (stereotypes about chinese people leak out through her verbiage). however, i will admit that gildiner's storytelling and narrative style were so compulsively readable and came at just the right time - as i'm starting my own education as a psychologist/therapist. more


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Nora|KnyguDama
352 reviews
2205 followers
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Tikrai nedaug skaitau psichologinių knygų, tad labai džiaugiuosi, kad tos, kurios pakliūva į rankas būna įdomios. Labiausiai mėgstu istorijas iš gydytojų kabinetų, tikras patirtis ir tikras keliones pasveikimo link. „Labas rytas, pabaisa“ būtent tokia ir yra – penki šokiruojantys, nustebinę ir skausmingai žiaurūs pasakojimai, kuriuos skaitant plaukai piestu stojosi. Rašytoja - klinikinė psichologė, dirbusi su tikrai sudėtingais atvejais, kuomet kartais iki problemos esmės priėjimo su pacientu tekdavo dirbti ir po keletą metų. Keli metai vien tam, kad pajudintum paviršių, išleisiantį visus demonus ir priežastis kodėl žmogui dabar gyventi sunku. more


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Julie Ehlers
1114 reviews
1494 followers
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There’s no doubt that Good Morning, Monster was an interesting read: The author, a therapist, presents here five case studies of particularly troubled patients and how she helped them, and her writing is engaging. Ultimately, though, the whole thing made me uneasy. The patients featured in these case studies had intense, extreme issues, some involving shocking levels of child abuse and neglect. Therapists might find reading about these cases instructive, but as a general reader I was uncomfortable with the rubbernecking quality of the premise. Plus, Gildiner herself behaved questionably in at least one of these cases. more


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Marie
463 reviews
70 followers
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I keep trying to decipher what the lesson of this book is, and I think it boils down to this: if you have been horribly emotionally damaged, you may never be able to repair yourself completely, but don't let that discount the progress it IS possible to make. This is being billed as an "inspiring" book, but I'm not sure inspired is the emotion I felt after reading it. It's good - it's really good. I was interested in each patient profiled, I couldn't have stopped reading their stories even if I'd wanted to. I was intrigued by Dr. more


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Jessica
5 reviews
0 followers
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The first three accounts were interesting and the book was readable and fast paced. The fourth account of Alana’s trauma was horrifying to read and I almost stopped reading as it was so upsetting. I looked for other reviews and found the phrase trauma porn and other people saying they felt icky reading it which seemed a fitting description of my reaction. I also objected to her belittling patients she���d had with less traumatic pasts and saying they should take note from these people and get over insignificant things. Her bar for significance is way too high. more


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Tania
1273 reviews
314 followers
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If you loved books like Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, Educated and The Glass Castle, you should add this to your TBR. The author, a psychologist, shares the backstories and therapeutical journey of five of her patients who had to work extremely hard over a long period of time to deal with and overcome what happened to them in their childhood. Although sad and shocking, the author manages to share the stories of Laura, Peter, Danny, Alana and Madeline, not for us to pity them but to admire and be inspired by their lives. I liked the fact that she also shares her mistakes made with us and why she made them. There is more of a focus on the different psychological methods she used than in Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, and I really enjoyed this aspect. more


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Megan
431 reviews
1145 followers
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“Therapy is a matter of getting your unconscious to stop controlling your conscious mind. Effective therapy is about lowering your defenses so that you can deal with the issues that arise in your life. ”This was a really great read. Although I found Good Morning, Monster lacking a little at times because it primarily focuses only on psychoanalytic/psychodynamic approaches, it was still very well done. Dr. more


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Lilli
130 reviews
38 followers
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Touching, haunting, gutting, spectacular. I could not put this down. This makes Lori Gottlieb’s Maybe You Should Talk To Someone—a book that I enjoyed but that was brought down to a measly three stars by the author’s own inserted story—look like child’s play. No one should have to experience a fraction of what these five people did in their childhoods. Mine was tough and at times tragic, but it was never without love. more


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Lavinia
81 reviews
107 followers
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Daca as avea o editura, acum m-as agita sa obtin dreptul de publicare in romana pentru aceasta carte. Toti cei care au fost fascinati de "Maybe You Should Talk to Someone" ar putea face pasul spre ceva mult mai profund si mai bine scris. Cele cinci cazuri au fost extrem de interesante si de dramatice, uneori chiar mi-a fost greu sa inaintez cu lectura pentru ca era prea multa suferinta, dar "Good Morning, Monster" (cuvintele cu care o mama isi intampina fiica in fiecare dimineata) va sta pentru mine alaturi de "Calaul dragostei" a lui Yalom, cartea care mi-a deschis gustul pentru istorisirile de psihologie. Inca nu stiu cum sa o notez, 4. 5 sau 5 stele, dar nu are rost sa ma zgarcesc, nu cred ca voi mai citi cu graba ceva de nivelul acesta, astfel de volume nu ies pe banda rulanta. more


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Gwen
116 reviews
28 followers
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I’ve learned so much and have a better understanding of Native Americans. Great read. more


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Diane S ☔
4804 reviews
14252 followers
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Thoughts soon. more


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Elaine
1702 reviews
1 followers
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Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of Good Morning, Monster. I was intrigued by the title and as a former psychology minor in college, I was excited when my request was approved. Wow. All I have to say is Wow. How did some of these patients survive such horrific trauma and abuse. more


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Elizabeth
266 reviews
317 followers
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Good Morning, Monster is harrowing and brilliant. It isn't an easy read; anyone who has experienced abuse, especially parental, will find themselves having to pause and think about their own jouney to find peace or understanding or both. But it's well worth it as Catherine Gildiner's compassion for her patients coupled with a writing style that manages to be accessible to those familiar and unfamiliar with therapy creates a journey of extreme experiences of suffering towards hope is both heart-rending and uplifting. There is something for everyone to relate to and think about in Good Morning, Monster. Very highly recommended. more


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PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
2373 reviews
231 followers
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***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of GOOD MORNING MONSTER by Catherine Gildiner in exchange for my honest review. ***** Disclaimer 2: I’m an American psychologist. I earned my doctorate in the early 1990s, after some of the Dr Gildiner’s stories, which took place in Canada, occurred. Some of my opinions may be based on differences in time and location. **Dr Catherine Gildiner chronicles five clients, most who suffered severe abuse, over the course of several years as their therapist. more


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Josephine S
43 reviews
0 followers
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Although this made for a good read, I didn’t appreciate the way that it almost glorified trauma by calling trauma survivors heroes and inspirational. It felt almost unreal and detached from reality; for every success story out there, you have way more people who are still struggling, way more who succumb to their mental illnesses. I get that it’s meant to be inspiring, but the way that this book was written just didn’t sit right with me. more


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Eliza ♡
231 reviews
46 followers
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I'm dismayed by the popularity and high rating of this book for the fact that it has misinformation about Dissociative Identity Disorder in it and now that information has gone out to all the people who have read this. I really was enjoying listening to the stories of these patients, of their resilience in the face of the most terrible things, but I had to DNF close to 80 percent in because as someone whose mother has DID, I just cannot abide its misrepresentation, especially by a health professional. I made a tiktok ranting a little about it which you can find on eliza. underlined, because I don't feel like typing it up here right this moment. I also saw some transphobia in the book, so the author deeply needed sensitivity readers before this was published. more


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