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In The Incurable Romantic, Frank Tallis recounts the extraordinary stories of patients who are, quite literally, madly in love: a woman becomes utterly convinced that her dentist is secretly infatuated with her and drives him to leave the country; a man destroys his massive fortune through trysts with over three thousand prostitutes--because his ego requires that they fall In The Incurable Romantic, Frank Tallis recounts the extraordinary stories of patients who are, quite literally, madly in love: a woman becomes utterly convinced that her dentist is secretly infatuated with her and drives him to leave the country; a man destroys his massive fortune through trysts with over three thousand prostitutes--because his ego requires that they fall in love with him; a beautiful woman's pathological jealousy destroys the men who love her. Along the way, we learn a great deal about the history of psychiatry and the role of neuroscience in addressing disordered love. Elegantly written and infused with deep sympathy, The Incurable Romantic shows how all of us can become a bit crazy in love.


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In The Incurable Romantic, Frank Tallis recounts the extraordinary stories of patients who are, quite literally, madly in love: a woman becomes utterly convinced that her dentist is secretly infatuated with her and drives him to leave the country; a man destroys his massive fortune through trysts with over three thousand prostitutes--because his ego requires that they fall In The Incurable Romantic, Frank Tallis recounts the extraordinary stories of patients who are, quite literally, madly in love: a woman becomes utterly convinced that her dentist is secretly infatuated with her and drives him to leave the country; a man destroys his massive fortune through trysts with over three thousand prostitutes--because his ego requires that they fall in love with him; a beautiful woman's pathological jealousy destroys the men who love her. Along the way, we learn a great deal about the history of psychiatry and the role of neuroscience in addressing disordered love. Elegantly written and infused with deep sympathy, The Incurable Romantic shows how all of us can become a bit crazy in love.

30 review for The Incurable Romantic and Other Tales of Madness and Desire

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Books centred around clinical cases are polarising for me. I either love them or hate them. When done well, they feed my desire for narrative and redemption in real life. When done poorly, they just remind me that medicine is mainly messy and unrewarding, time spent following Voltaire's advice to 'amuse the patient while nature takes its course'. I'm not sure which side of the equation this book falls on, for the simple reason that Tallis brings up what is apparently his central 'argument' only Books centred around clinical cases are polarising for me. I either love them or hate them. When done well, they feed my desire for narrative and redemption in real life. When done poorly, they just remind me that medicine is mainly messy and unrewarding, time spent following Voltaire's advice to 'amuse the patient while nature takes its course'. I'm not sure which side of the equation this book falls on, for the simple reason that Tallis brings up what is apparently his central 'argument' only in the final chapter of the book. Apparently what he's been trying to say is that we the people should take love and its attendant miseries more seriously as medical/psychological issues. I find this extremely pertinent, as a doctor who would daily like to prescribe people fresh air, a pet, and a subscription to Match.com. However, I feel he failed to mention this at all prior to the last chapter, and all the individual chapters don't tie into any central theme, let alone this. However, each case was individually interesting and Tallis certainly holds up the other requirement to make these books palatable, that of being a crisp and confident writer. There's a few minor points at which it's clear he hasn't interrogated all his own privileges - for example, when he says of fetishes that stockings and shoes are common as compared to kettles because they recall the 'soft skin of women'. He appears to have forgotten, or doesn't know, that women are naturally as hairy as men. He doesn't mention the historical precedent, but if stockings existed as a fetish before the twentieth century it can't be because of women's smooth legs, because they weren't. There are some great thinking points: ...ultimately the selflessness of ordinary mothers makes the whole of civilisation possible. Accurate! Also, preach! Romance has been characterised as the most significant belief system in the Western psyche. Alfred Adler, who wisely observed, "The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well." Which is a comforting thought.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    “What is life if it isn’t about love? Finding love, being loved and loving others? Yet, love is something we rarely engage with intellectually. We all experience falling in love but take little or no interest in how it works.” Frank Tallis, a British clinical psychologist, takes upon himself the onerous task of discovering how love works when madness and/or desire take over. Dr. Tallis looks at this topic from all angles – from inappropriate attachment to love addiction, from obsessive jealousy t “What is life if it isn’t about love? Finding love, being loved and loving others? Yet, love is something we rarely engage with intellectually. We all experience falling in love but take little or no interest in how it works.” Frank Tallis, a British clinical psychologist, takes upon himself the onerous task of discovering how love works when madness and/or desire take over. Dr. Tallis looks at this topic from all angles – from inappropriate attachment to love addiction, from obsessive jealousy to pedophilia and narcissus. Some of the tales are haunting: the woman with de Clerambault’s syndrome who becomes totally obsessed with her dentist, becoming a factor in his fleeing to Dubai…the beautiful interior designer whose extreme and unwarranted jealousy drives her loved one to distraction…the successful man in mid-career who squanders his fortune on over 3,000 prostitutes …the dowdy widow whose relationship with her loved one was based on an all-encompassing desire for physical intimacy. The stories turn us into voyeurs-of-sorts, peeking over the psychologist’s shoulder. Dr. Tallis tempers that feeling by divulging information from the history of the art and science of psychology – from Sigmund Freud’s famous case history off Anna O to the background of demonic possession to various DSIM diagnoses and how they came to be. He obviously has his mass audience in mind—do not expect more than a cursory look at the theories of psychology. At times, Dr. Tallis strays from his chosen focus: we learn, for example, anecdotes from his own life and are privy to tales that seem less about love addiction and more about dysfunction in general. The parts, in this case, are more intriguing than the whole.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nikola

    You can also find this review on my book blog. It’s no secret that I enjoy reading psychology non-fiction books and that I’m interested in Psychology. Tallis’ book intrigued me because of the subject matter it deals with – love, to be precise: obsessive love. I rarely read and find books on this subject so I was glad I stumbled upon it. While reading this book I wrote notes on the first half of the book because many chapters were interesting and contained a lot of information I found useful. The You can also find this review on my book blog. It’s no secret that I enjoy reading psychology non-fiction books and that I’m interested in Psychology. Tallis’ book intrigued me because of the subject matter it deals with – love, to be precise: obsessive love. I rarely read and find books on this subject so I was glad I stumbled upon it. While reading this book I wrote notes on the first half of the book because many chapters were interesting and contained a lot of information I found useful. The Incurable Romantic contains twelve chapters and each of them deal with a different problem and aspect of love. The stories inside this book are based on real life cases the author worked on with the names of people changed in order to protect identities of his patients. I really don’t want to make this review long but I tend to write essays on non-fiction books so I’ll try and be efficient. In the preface of this book Tallis writes about earlier understandings of love and ‘lovesickness’. He uses a philosopher called Lucretius and looks at his definition on both terms. The conclusion he comes to is that both views on love and lovesickness haven’t changed much in nearly two-thousand years – which means that these feelings have been around for a while. The first chapter of this book The Barrister’s Clerk examines love that is very obsessive to the point where our subject can’t get the person she has feelings for out of her mind. We are talking about stalking here – where the person she likes doesn’t share the same feelings, the person is married but still our subject can’t get these facts into her mind. Tallis explains that the subject suffers from de Clerambault’s syndrome which is a form of a delusional disorder where the person believes that another person is infatuated with them. We see how this obsession ruins her life because she can’t accept that the other person doesn’t share the same feelings. In the second chapter called The Haunted Bedroom we meet our subject, an old woman who lost her husband and who feels very depressed and lonely. When Tallis interviews her what she says is very peculiar, he asks her ‘What do you miss most about your husband?’ and she replies ‘The sex.’. She begins to see her husband everywhere, in the house, in the park. Here Tallis explains something called PBHE or Post Bereavement Hallucinatory Experience. Furthermore, Tallis explains that people we loved [who passed away] have a subconscious place in our mind which can cause us to see or feel the persons presence because we were with them for a long period of time. Seeing the people we were close to makes us more comfortable and helps us grieve better. In the third chapter called The Woman Who Wasn’t There we see how the Delusional disorder: Jealous type takes effect on a woman who becomes obsessed with her boyfriend to a very extreme point. She becomes very jealous because her boyfriend doesn’t text her (even though he texts her every chance he gets), doesn’t tell her where he’s going etc. What we see is how a relationship can be ruined because of jealousy that consumes our subject. This chapter is very relatable to me because I find myself to be the same but not to that extreme. I found Anita’s concerns to be something I would be asking myself too but there were certain parts where her actions couldn’t be justified. There are many interesting stories in this book but sadly I can’t share them because this review would be long. Even though this book doesn’t offer solutions to problems each subject has it gives a fresh perspective on things like obsession, delusion, addiction, love. I would complain about the lack of resolution to this problem because I really wanted to know more about each person I encountered in this book but psychoanalysis and therapy, as Tallis says, often fail when it comes to resolving certain problems but what they do is offer new insight into problem they try to cure. It is safe to say that The Incurable Romantic is a book that offers an insight into obsessive love as well as historical background on psychological and biological factors that influence love and how people perceive and express it. To anyone who enjoys reading books about psychology and is interested in human nature and how we perceive love should read The Incurable Romantic. I would like to thank the publisher Little Brown UK for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

  4. 4 out of 5

    DebsD

    The premise of this book was intriguing, but it failed to live up to its promise. From the beginning, I found myself rolling my eyes at the writing. There were huge amounts of irrelevant or pointless information: extensive detail about patients' appearance, an explanation of how doctors dictate referrals and how they are then processed and by whom, flowery prose, the use of full names to refer to an individual (dozens of times, over the course of a few pages), lengthy discussion of the history o The premise of this book was intriguing, but it failed to live up to its promise. From the beginning, I found myself rolling my eyes at the writing. There were huge amounts of irrelevant or pointless information: extensive detail about patients' appearance, an explanation of how doctors dictate referrals and how they are then processed and by whom, flowery prose, the use of full names to refer to an individual (dozens of times, over the course of a few pages), lengthy discussion of the history of various theories (not all of them related in any way to psychology) and so on. I kept highlighting passages and noting, "is he trying to reach a word-count requirement?" As a professional, his responses he describes to patients often seemed odd and self-aggrandizing: he makes frequent judgements or assumptions about patients due to their age, their educational achievements or their sexual experiences. I frequently frowned at his behaviour - e.g. he mentions how, every day, there are patients who don't show up for appointments, which means that "a psychotherapist spends many hours hanging around, drumming fingers, checking wall clocks and staring out of windows" - not writing up notes or dictating reports, making calls or keeping up-to-date with professional journals? Really? When the book seemed to morph into a bizarre autobiography/self-analysis/horror-spoof in which the author described a dramatic, life-threatening situation in which he'd been involved many years earlier (as a non-professional), with the apparent goal of showing how well he took control of this situation (yet inexplicably failed to contact the police or instruct anyone else to do so), and when he then decided that the behaviour of the individual responsible was due to religious belief and/or sexual frustration - that's when I decided that I couldn't justify giving this any more of my time. DNF at about 60%.

  5. 5 out of 5

    SundayAtDusk

    Someone, anyone could probably successfully argue this book is not about love. It’s about mental illness. It’s about obsessions and addictions and delusions and narcissism. Fortunately, our tour guide through those loveless states, Dr. Frank Tallis, a clinical psychologist, appears to be a compassionate and sane man, unlike some other psychologists who write books. This is his second book on the topic, too; the first being Love Sick: Love as a Mental Illness; so he is well acquainted with the ma Someone, anyone could probably successfully argue this book is not about love. It’s about mental illness. It’s about obsessions and addictions and delusions and narcissism. Fortunately, our tour guide through those loveless states, Dr. Frank Tallis, a clinical psychologist, appears to be a compassionate and sane man, unlike some other psychologists who write books. This is his second book on the topic, too; the first being Love Sick: Love as a Mental Illness; so he is well acquainted with the matter. Nevertheless, when all was said and done, I found myself not agreeing with him on some major matters, besides the loose use of the word love. Mainly, I think he was wrong to state that what happened to some of the patients in the book could happen to any one of us. Really? Like De Clerambault's Syndrome? Isn’t that rare? While that case was one of the most interesting ones in the book, it was still sort of an unsatisfactory story. Megan, a middle-aged woman with a good job and a kind husband, wakes up from oral surgery one day madly obsessed with her oral surgeon. When asked later if she had felt anything for him before the surgery, she answered possibly, but she was not certain. She apparently didn’t behave in an obsessed manner before the surgery. Yet at no point, even in hindsight, did Dr. Tallis suggest the possibility that the general anesthesia damaged her brain. Instead, as a psychotherapist, he thought talking about the obsession might lead to a cure. It did not. (Neither did medication.) He could find nothing in her background, or her current life, that could explain why she thought her dentist was madly in love with her, and why she started to stalk him. (Do note the word “incurable” in the book’s title. It’s there for a good reason.) So what is the reader left with? The doctor simply saying Megan was incurable, and suggesting that her obsession was simply a magnification of the irrational thinking and actions associated with being “love-struck”. Hence, any one of us could end up like Megan if “love-struck”. I’m afraid I found his conclusions a bit worrisome. (They are particularly worrisome if teenagers, or others prone to irrational fears, are reading this book.) As stated earlier, De Clerambault’s Syndrome is rare. If it could happen to any one of us, it would not be rare. While it’s possible Dr. Tallis’ compassion led him to make such a statement, I’m not certain of that; since the last paragraph about Megan had him saying he lost touch with her, but still thought about her; imagining her going home, taking an object out of her dentist shrine box, “closing her eyes and communing with a man who has probably forgotten that she exists by now.” How dramatic. And how maddening. Although it’s refreshing to see the doctor is not an arrogant man who refuses to reveal his failures, he seemed to be too accepting of the fact that people like poor Megan are incurable; that there wasn’t anything missed about her life, or her brain activity, that could have been discovered, and could have unlocked the chain to her obsession. She just ends up a sad woman and a sad story in his book. (It’s interesting to note that besides writing about psychology, Dr. Tallis is also a successful novelist. Maybe he should save his sad images of the future of his patients for his novels.) It’s not that I refuse to accept that some, if not many, mentally ill individuals end up “incurable”, or that absolutely no one is immune to mental illness, but that I feel Dr. Tallis too strongly suggests that someone can suddenly go off the deep end. Mental illness does not work like that, unless there is a brain problem involved. In addition, the doctor’s suggestion that we might have less free will than we think is once again him suggesting we have little or no control over our own mental health. When in reality, what usually determines mental health are all the decisions one makes every day of one’s life, starting at a very young age. Many of these decisions aren’t even remembered, but they were still made. Love or hate? Be fearful or brave? Forgive or hold a grudge forever? Drink or do drugs or not? Tell the truth or lie? Take responsibility or blame someone else? Turn outward or remain self-absorbed? Empathy or self-pity? Bad past decisions, like bad past experiences, don’t always doom someone, either. Newer, better decisions can start being made any day of the week. Sometimes I think some psychotherapists actually like the idea that anyone could easily become mentally ill, or everyone is mentally ill to a point, because they need the work; or want to think their work is indispensable to mankind; or maybe because they are mentally ill themselves. Or maybe they just want to reduce the stigma of mental illness by suggesting anyone and everyone can easily go off the deep end, and they have no control over that happening or responsibility for it. That fortunately is not true. (Note: I received a free ARC of this book from Amazon Vine.)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    **3.5 stars rounded up.** I really enjoyed this collection of case studies on the intricacies and impacts on love on a person's mental health (and vice versa). The author's writing style lends itself well to conveying the details to the reader; the language he uses is never over the top clinical, but it doesn't feel like he's dumbing things down for the reader either. I've read other books by psychologists and doctors where the tone is so superior that it really took me out of the book, despite t **3.5 stars rounded up.** I really enjoyed this collection of case studies on the intricacies and impacts on love on a person's mental health (and vice versa). The author's writing style lends itself well to conveying the details to the reader; the language he uses is never over the top clinical, but it doesn't feel like he's dumbing things down for the reader either. I've read other books by psychologists and doctors where the tone is so superior that it really took me out of the book, despite the content being interesting. This isn't the case at all here. The case studies and vignettes read like short stories rather than intense clinical analyses of the patients, making for a very enjoyable read. I appreciated that the author provided just enough historical context to bring the reader deeper into each case, without bogging it down or making it feel dry. This is a great example of medical writing that doesn't FEEL clinical, and I have a feeling a good deal of that has to do with the author's experience as a novelist as well. I'll definitely be checking out some of his fiction, as I really enjoyed his writing style here.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lara K

    In ' The Incurable Romantic' , Frank Tallis presents us with a thought provoking portrait of love, it's idiosyncrasies, contradictions and perversities.The book is segmented into chapters, each delving into an aspect of love. Tallis, a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, primarily uses his own clinical case studies to seduce us to follow him down a meandering path of psychological research, philosophy, art and literature, all in the name of this strange thing called love. And follow I did In ' The Incurable Romantic' , Frank Tallis presents us with a thought provoking portrait of love, it's idiosyncrasies, contradictions and perversities.The book is segmented into chapters, each delving into an aspect of love. Tallis, a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, primarily uses his own clinical case studies to seduce us to follow him down a meandering path of psychological research, philosophy, art and literature, all in the name of this strange thing called love. And follow I did. Reading Tallis' skillful prose there were times when his writing was so poignant and beautiful it was like a punch to the guts. In one chapter he describes how a woman with De Clerambault's syndrome , suffering under an intense delusion of reciprocated love builds a shrine to her beloved dentist who petrified of this woman, moved to Dubai. When Tallis asks her poor husband if he has ever thought of destroying that shrine, the husband is shocked, he would never do that because the thought of hurting her is abhorrent to him "I was touched by his compassion. Ordinary, non-pathological love can also be very extraordinary"' As a psychologist myself, it was refreshing to find Tallis' cases progressed as many do, with surprising tangents and detours, premature endings and unresolved issues. Tallis' authenticity and honesty in this regard helps the reader trust him in his wanderings, although I have to say some of his tales did leave the reader feeling somewhat unsatisfied, a bit like when you eat a slice of day old carrot cake and then wonder if it was worth the calories. For example, Tallis presents a fascinating case of a man who falls in love with himself, forfeiting a relationship for his narcissism. Yet he never seems to explore this formulation with the client, or how he might have helped the client grow, and as a reader I felt very much a voyeur in this story. But as Tallis says himself when he receives a letter from an old client, we can not help but hope for romantic conclusions in stories, despite the fact they very rarely happen in reality. As with love, it's very much the journey that is important and not the destination. I would definitely recommend delving into this journey of the heart, mind and humanity itself, it is well worth the read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nikki "The Crazie Betty" V.

    I love psychology, so when I saw this book on Netgalley I knew it was a match made in heaven. I’ve never been a “romantic” myself, so I was curious what psychological issues would arise from the research into romance and love. Boy did this book deliver. The book details personal experiences of the author and psychologist, with patients he has had over the years with myriad different mental and psychology disorders related to romance, love and attraction. We hear about a woman who wakes up from a I love psychology, so when I saw this book on Netgalley I knew it was a match made in heaven. I’ve never been a “romantic” myself, so I was curious what psychological issues would arise from the research into romance and love. Boy did this book deliver. The book details personal experiences of the author and psychologist, with patients he has had over the years with myriad different mental and psychology disorders related to romance, love and attraction. We hear about a woman who wakes up from a normal dental procedure to find she is in love with her dentist, and she knows that he is in love with her too. Without any sort of inclination to indicate as such, and in fact multiple requests from the dentist for her to leave him and his family alone. A woman with no history of mental illness and who insists she is still very much in love with her husband. But is obsessed over the love that she believes is shared between her and her dentist and the dentist’s unwillingness to admit his feelings. We also get stories involving a man obsessed with the feeling of someone falling in love with him; a woman who drives away every man she’s ever loved with pathological jealousy. And, much to the dismay of many who want to read this, we also get a glimpse into the psyche of a man who is notably a pedophile, who understands his desires are wrong and works to accept the fact that he will never be able to be in a loving mutual relationship. Frank Tallis is everything you would want in a psychologist. He is sympathetic and non-judgmental, even when his base beliefs would promote otherwise. His candid but sensitive recounting of his patients and their problems was done with a scientific approach and he remained a clinical observer throughout. Neither promoting or condemning the actions of those who sought his help. I was thoroughly taken with this book and definitely see myself reading it again in the future. Received via Netgalley. I have provided a truthful review of my own accord, and it reflects my opinion alone.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Viktoriya

    Disclaimer: A copy was provided by NetGalley for an honest review I am a little upset that I didn't like this book. Technically, it has everything I usually like: talks about real people, has some history of mental health, has other interesting things thrown here and there. All of that should have solidify a good rating from me. But it didn't...I didn't like the writing and couldn't connect with it at all. Half the time I felt like the author was making fun of people he was supposed to be helpin Disclaimer: A copy was provided by NetGalley for an honest review I am a little upset that I didn't like this book. Technically, it has everything I usually like: talks about real people, has some history of mental health, has other interesting things thrown here and there. All of that should have solidify a good rating from me. But it didn't...I didn't like the writing and couldn't connect with it at all. Half the time I felt like the author was making fun of people he was supposed to be helping and other times it felt like I was being lectured at. Reading session notes, as entertaining as some of them were, made me feel like I was reading someone's diary and I felt a little dirty for violating their privacy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lanxin

    The book does a good job of balancing clinical cases of his interactions with patients with some historical scientific context in between which made for an easy read without overwhelming jargon and ensuring you’re still engaged! The cases he presents are very interesting and it showed the troubles psychiatrists have in dealing with patients and just how labouring and intricate this job really is, despite the old jokes other medical professionals still have on this line of work. As a medical stude The book does a good job of balancing clinical cases of his interactions with patients with some historical scientific context in between which made for an easy read without overwhelming jargon and ensuring you’re still engaged! The cases he presents are very interesting and it showed the troubles psychiatrists have in dealing with patients and just how labouring and intricate this job really is, despite the old jokes other medical professionals still have on this line of work. As a medical student, this book was a great starting point to develop my interest in the field further in the future.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mai

    I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you! All opinions are my own. The Incurable Romantic tells the stories of patients whose love/desire/obsession has become problematic for them (and often others). This is mostly a sympathetic collection of tales of mental illness related to romantic and/or sexual feelings (not love), but it leaves you thinking when love actually crosses the line to madness. I think there is no easy answer. Overall quite an interesting read, I'm intrigued.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Olwen

    Enjoyable reading. And I learnt a few new words.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    I went into this expecting a few amusing stories, but was very pleased to discover instead fairly in-depth explorations of 12 different psychological cases, some unusual and some a bit more common. From a woman convinced that her dentist is deeply in love with her to a man who has visited thousands of prostitutes over the course of a few months, every case presents something utterly foreign and fascinating - and Frank Tallis manages to present each story with understanding, empathy, and reflecti I went into this expecting a few amusing stories, but was very pleased to discover instead fairly in-depth explorations of 12 different psychological cases, some unusual and some a bit more common. From a woman convinced that her dentist is deeply in love with her to a man who has visited thousands of prostitutes over the course of a few months, every case presents something utterly foreign and fascinating - and Frank Tallis manages to present each story with understanding, empathy, and reflection. Really fascinating and well written book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Noorilhuda

    This non-fiction has the right balance of psychological / psychiatric theories, actual case studies, the perceptions of the treating doctor, and a well-written story-book style prose. It will put you in a reflective mood, against your better judgement! Thanks to the publisher for the ARC. Loved it. And all the best to the doctor peering out the window at a stale surrounding.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Richard Smith

    My blog on the book: https://richardswsmith.wordpress.com/...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

    The Incurable Romantic and Other Tales of Madness & Desire by Frank Tallis is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early September. Twelve short stories of re-adapted psychotherapy sessions that are in some way related to love (i.e. unreciprocation, jealousy, becoming a widow/widower, sexual addiction/predilections). The perspective of the therapist/counselor is exceptionally insightful and well-versed; so much so that thee song ‘Accidentally Like A Martyr’ comes to mind.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Penny

    "The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well". Fascinating selection of case histories from Tallis, a Clinical Psychologist who is also a very good writer - he can certainly tell an excellent tale! The case histories described are about the 'madness' of love and I was struck several times by how so called 'normal' behaviour can be just a whisper away from something far more sinister. I found the chapter describing a middle aged woman 'suffering' (and I don't use that word lightly) "The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well". Fascinating selection of case histories from Tallis, a Clinical Psychologist who is also a very good writer - he can certainly tell an excellent tale! The case histories described are about the 'madness' of love and I was struck several times by how so called 'normal' behaviour can be just a whisper away from something far more sinister. I found the chapter describing a middle aged woman 'suffering' (and I don't use that word lightly) from de Clérambault's Syndrome absolutely fascinating. This Syndrome is where a person (usually female) has the entirely delusional idea that a man, usually of higher social and/or professional status, is in love with her. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can make her think differently. These cases occasionally get into the popular press and they can make for sensational reading - especially if they involve 'celebrity stalking'. The sad part is that there doesn't seem to be cure - I feel sorry for the person with the Syndrome but just as sorry for their victim. Tallis mixes up his case histories with a little history of psychology plus some more personal insights from his own life. The mixture works really well.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Oryx

    Now then. I hate reading about the brain because it's the brain and the brain always makes me think about my brain. It's like looking at the world turn, or staring into the infinite blackness of blah blah blah. Anyway. This guy fucking LOVES a good hyphen -- seriously -- he can't get enough. Not even sure they were employed correctly half the time -- whatever, it doesn't matter if he used them as liberally as e-numbers in 90's sweets, this book was as addictive as 90's sweets. WAHEEEEEY. Anyway. Now then. I hate reading about the brain because it's the brain and the brain always makes me think about my brain. It's like looking at the world turn, or staring into the infinite blackness of blah blah blah. Anyway. This guy fucking LOVES a good hyphen -- seriously -- he can't get enough. Not even sure they were employed correctly half the time -- whatever, it doesn't matter if he used them as liberally as e-numbers in 90's sweets, this book was as addictive as 90's sweets. WAHEEEEEY. Anyway. This was real fascinating. Proper interesting stuff. Some parts I actually couldn't read because, well, I just couldn't -- poor Karen has become more sensitive with age. Enjoyed it, dough, gasped a few times and it was so readable. Sure, lot of Freud in here, but it would be folly to think there wouldn't be. Case studies were well selected and actually some of it was funny. It's made me want to read his other stuff that I hear is more in-depth? Not sure who I'm asking. Go to bed, Karen before you make yourself look like a fool by going on and on. And on and on. And no. 3.865

  19. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Elisa

    I am a therapist and will take a good few things away from this book, both professionally and personally. It is, however, written for just about anyone interested in understanding romantic relationships, without being dry or jagon-y, highly philosophical or scientific. Particularly, it deals with how we can sometimes get "stuck" on people or relationships, either unable to move on, or why we sometimes can't leave behind feelings that are just not reciprocated. Tallis uses real life cases of his I am a therapist and will take a good few things away from this book, both professionally and personally. It is, however, written for just about anyone interested in understanding romantic relationships, without being dry or jagon-y, highly philosophical or scientific. Particularly, it deals with how we can sometimes get "stuck" on people or relationships, either unable to move on, or why we sometimes can't leave behind feelings that are just not reciprocated. Tallis uses real life cases of his to illustrate underlying mechanisms that can keep us stuck, and offers new perspectives with which we can understand the issue better. He draws on both philosophical and psychological views that certainly give food for thought although they are sometimes just that: perspectives. I could think of alternative explanations for the clients' problems once or twice so just keep in mind that these are no ultimate truths while reading.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nicki Markus

    Although I have never studied it in a classroom, I have long been interested in psychology and theories of personality, and have done some reading on the topic. Therefore, The Incurable Romantic appealed to me as soon as I saw it on NetGalley. It was certainly an intriguing read. I enjoyed how the case studies each presented a very different take on the psychology behind love, and these were nicely balanced with Tallis' recollections and anecdotes. This is a book that can be easily read by laype Although I have never studied it in a classroom, I have long been interested in psychology and theories of personality, and have done some reading on the topic. Therefore, The Incurable Romantic appealed to me as soon as I saw it on NetGalley. It was certainly an intriguing read. I enjoyed how the case studies each presented a very different take on the psychology behind love, and these were nicely balanced with Tallis' recollections and anecdotes. This is a book that can be easily read by layperson or expert alike, and it offers a fascinating insight into how the human brain processes the idea of love. The Incurable Romantic was a 4.5 star read for me. I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Seymour Glass

    I'm such a whore for psychological case studies, so naturally I loved this. I like how he didn't feel the need to wrap up each story neatly in a bow. Life and love and the human mind are all messy and a constant work-in-progress so I never really buy into accounts that end with happily ever after. He emphasises management of conditions rather than cure, and I find this a much more realistic approach.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alie Urbach

    Frank Tallis De ongeneeslijke Romanticus Van de uitgever Atlas contact mag ik dit boek lezen en recenseren. Frank Tallis is expert op het terrein van obsessies en dwangneuroses. Als psychotherapeut schrijft hij over zijn werk, de alledaagse problemen van de liefde. Die mensen ziek maken en niet begrijpen waarom het hun leven zo beheerst. Hij heeft een luisterend oor en probeerd te doorgronden wat er verder nog speelt, soms vloeit het gedrag voort vanuit hun kindertijd. Wat een heel mooi verhaal was Frank Tallis De ongeneeslijke Romanticus Van de uitgever Atlas contact mag ik dit boek lezen en recenseren. Frank Tallis is expert op het terrein van obsessies en dwangneuroses. Als psychotherapeut schrijft hij over zijn werk, de alledaagse problemen van de liefde. Die mensen ziek maken en niet begrijpen waarom het hun leven zo beheerst. Hij heeft een luisterend oor en probeerd te doorgronden wat er verder nog speelt, soms vloeit het gedrag voort vanuit hun kindertijd. Wat een heel mooi verhaal was maar tegelijk ook triest over de vrouw die verliefd werd op haar tandarts. Wat ze al onderneemt om hem te zien en daar blijft het niet bij ze is ervan overtuigd dat hij dezelfde gevoelens heeft. Ze gaat zelfs zo ver dat ze hem ervan probeert te overtuigen dat hij ook van haar houdt. Frank stelde hele goede vragen zoals `Hoe wist je dat hij verliefd op je was? ` `Dat wist ik gewoon` Maar hoe dan? `Gewoon, dat wist ik`. Frank weet op een goede manier de patstelling te doorbreken. Uiteindelijk zegt ze, ik zag het in zijn ogen. En zo gaat het nog even door. Frank is er inmiddels van overtuigd dat zij er koppig ervan overtuigd is dat haar gevoelens worden beantwoord. Helemaal erg werd het toen zij zijn vrouw belde en zij van haar te horen kreeg dat ze hulp moest zoeken. Uiteindelijk heeft de tandarts haar huisarts gebeld met alle gevolgen van dien. Mensen die verliefd worden hebben allemaal de neiging om die te idealiseren ze plaatsen hun partner op een voetstuk en verliezen de realiteit uit het oog. Voor een psychotherapeut is het soms een lang proces om hem of haar te laten inzien dat een relatie uit twee personen bestaat. En als één partij in de relatie niet verder wil, het voor de ander heel moeilijk is dit feit te accepteren. Frank weet hier heelkundig mee om te gaan door soms ook met de partner een sessie te hebben en indien nodig ook met beide. Een moeilijke casus met een pedofiel beschrijft hij ook maar geeft ook aan dat hij als psychotherapeut hem niet mag weigeren. Het is een onverwachts mooi en leerzaam boek met vele herkenbare verhalen. Waarin hij ook teruggrijpt hoe er vroeger over psychotherapie werd gedacht. Hij had er geen moeite mee om eventueel een collega te raadplegen. Niet iedereen is te genezen dat is ook niet het doel van de therapie, maar om er mee leren om te gaan.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Henk van Vliet

    Epictetus: “Niet de gebeurtenissen verstoren de menselijke geest maar de manier waarop de mens ze ziet” Ik vond dit een interessant en laagdrempelig boek, gezien liefde inderdaad een onderwerp is waar iedereen mee worstelt, al eeuwen lang (zoals de quote hierboven van Romeinse filosoof Epictetus al aangeeft) en waar geen definitief antwoord op bestaat. Frank Tallis focust vanuit zijn expertise als psycholoog vooral op het onderscheid tussen normale en abnormale reacties bij verliefdheid. In vers Epictetus: “Niet de gebeurtenissen verstoren de menselijke geest maar de manier waarop de mens ze ziet” Ik vond dit een interessant en laagdrempelig boek, gezien liefde inderdaad een onderwerp is waar iedereen mee worstelt, al eeuwen lang (zoals de quote hierboven van Romeinse filosoof Epictetus al aangeeft) en waar geen definitief antwoord op bestaat. Frank Tallis focust vanuit zijn expertise als psycholoog vooral op het onderscheid tussen normale en abnormale reacties bij verliefdheid. In verschillende hoofdstukken gebruikt hij anonieme casussen van patiënten om bijvoorbeeld het syndroom van De Clerambault, waarbij iemand plotsklaps hopeloos verliefd is op iemand die hij of zij niet kent, invoelbaar te maken. Hierbij hanteert hij een afgewogen en warme stijl, waardoor de mensen die hij beschrijft echt aanvoelen in plaats van ‘freaks’, wat bij iemand die bijvoorbeeld pathologisch 3.000 prostituees bezocht heeft, je eerste ingeving zou zijn. Het boek leest vlot weg en bevat quotes van patiënten die je niet meteen verwacht (zoals een 70 Jarige weduwe die de vraag geteld krijgt: “Wat mis je het meest aan je overleden man?” Waarbij het antwoord: “De seks” is). Zijdelings raakt hij hierbij ook thema’s als Psychologie versus Chemie/Biologie als oorzaak voor afwijkingen en is hij tevens openhartig over zijn eigen leven en achtergrond in bijvoorbeeld het verhaal van de Amerikaanse evangelist. Een andere openhartigheid aan het boek wat ik waardeerde is het beeld wat de auteur schetst over psychoanalyse: omdat de menselijke geest complex is vaak ook géén succes heeft en dat Tallis zelf hierdoor soms niet weet wat er van zijn patiënten uiteindelijk is geworden. Hoofdboodschap die ik uit het boek haal is dat heel veel syndromen ontstaan omdat mensen de waarheid anders willen zien dan dat hij is, en dat dosering van dit afweermechanisme van de geest is alles wat normaal van abnormaal scheidt. Tallis biedt de lezer dit inzicht aan de hand van sappige en menselijke anekdotes, waardoor ik dit boek 4 sterren geef. Full disclosure: ik heb een leesexemplaar van Atlas Contact ontvangen via hun club voor echte lezers (https://www.atlascontact.nl/2017/05/0...) maar mijn review is volledig onafhankelijk.

  24. 5 out of 5

    TammyJo Eckhart

    "Madness and Desire" seemed like a good subtitle for a book to read in October and while I found the recollections of psychologist Frank Tallis to be horror in the sense of everyday life they aren't horror as we expect in fiction. In their own ways, I found each of his patients to be terrifying because in most cases I could empathize if not fully understand. Each of them suffered because of something that might be called "desire" or "love" or "lust" to a level that either they felt it was a prob "Madness and Desire" seemed like a good subtitle for a book to read in October and while I found the recollections of psychologist Frank Tallis to be horror in the sense of everyday life they aren't horror as we expect in fiction. In their own ways, I found each of his patients to be terrifying because in most cases I could empathize if not fully understand. Each of them suffered because of something that might be called "desire" or "love" or "lust" to a level that either they felt it was a problem or in many cases their primary care doctors (as we say in the USA) thought it was a problem. Most of the 12 chapters deal with a patient but at one didn't. Their issues ran from grieving the loss of a relationship through death or merely moving on to sexual desires and ideas that put them on the edge of breaking to breaking the laws. The split seemed fairly even between male and female patients, too. What I liked a lot was how Tallis used the patient cases to explain the history of therapy and the changes in that field. Some changes came about because of medical or scientific discoveries but more often than not it was social changes that impacted treatments the most. There were a few times where he went on a bit too long and getting back to the patient seemed like an afterthought. Indeed, in a couple of the later chapter the patient cases were the minority of the text and that disappointed me.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Karenclifford61

    At first I thought this book should've been titled ...Madly in Love, as each chapter describes "love" related to mental health via DSM-V criteria. Written from the perspective of clinical psychologist, chapters identify and help the reader understand DeClérambault's syndrome (where one believes someone is passionately in love with them but they aren't), sexualized hallucinations of a dead spouse, extreme jealousy imitating OCD, an addiction to falling in love with falling in love, stalking the ( At first I thought this book should've been titled ...Madly in Love, as each chapter describes "love" related to mental health via DSM-V criteria. Written from the perspective of clinical psychologist, chapters identify and help the reader understand DeClérambault's syndrome (where one believes someone is passionately in love with them but they aren't), sexualized hallucinations of a dead spouse, extreme jealousy imitating OCD, an addiction to falling in love with falling in love, stalking the (non-existent)perfect partner, homosexuality without intimacy, demonic possession to justify sexual infidelity, and a potential pedophile that (to date) has not acted on his urges. I found the last chapter especially interesting as the author recognizes... human babies are born 12 months early as a result of having large skulls, and to ensure survival, evolution has created the need for humans to bond (ideally 3-4 years until the infant can achieve a level of independence). Strong/overpowering love chemicals created by our genes make sure our species does not become extinct (i.e. otherwise the offspring wouldn't be cared for in those early years/would be wiped out). Unfortunately chemical adaptations can go haywire while defending the survival of the species.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sytske

    De non-fictieve verhalen zijn intrigerend en verrassend. De toelichtingen over de psychotherapeutische methodiek en ontwikkeling hiertoe van uit de psychologische wetenschap is zeer interessant. Verder is er sprake van een goede balans, tussen het informatieve en het roman gedeelte van het boek. Waardoor het verhaal prettig leest. Het boek is alleen geen aanrader als men het lezen wil gebruiken om tot rust te komen, of voor een zeer ontspannende activiteit als bijvoorbeeld slapen. Daar is het bo De non-fictieve verhalen zijn intrigerend en verrassend. De toelichtingen over de psychotherapeutische methodiek en ontwikkeling hiertoe van uit de psychologische wetenschap is zeer interessant. Verder is er sprake van een goede balans, tussen het informatieve en het roman gedeelte van het boek. Waardoor het verhaal prettig leest. Het boek is alleen geen aanrader als men het lezen wil gebruiken om tot rust te komen, of voor een zeer ontspannende activiteit als bijvoorbeeld slapen. Daar is het boek te inhoudelijk te zwaar en prikkelend voor. Verder was de hoeveelheid inzicht over de psychologie van menselijke liefde vernieuwend en openbarend. Het is een prima boek voor zowel zij interesse hebben in de psychologie, als voor hen die in het vakgebied functioneren.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Saya

    I Thoroughly enjoyed this one but it had a sense of messiness sometimes. Some cases felt misplaced and some didn’t feel like they had anything to do with the subject of the book itself. However, Tallis’ voice is compelling and just fun to read. I don’t make it a habit of taking enjoyment out of people’s sufferings but damn was this entertaining.

  28. 4 out of 5

    SarahK

    Beautifully written, varied and thought-provoking case studies from a psychotherapist- focuses on the extremes to which love can take us. I appreciated the honest accounts of clients who just disappeared with no satisfactory resolution to their stories or issues - that felt very real

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sam O'H

    Enjoyable and very quotable. The author is a therapist and each chapter tells a story of a patient he has treated. He intermixes their stories with brief histories about the disorder or affliction from which the patient suffers. Good book, a very fast read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Janday

    Psychotherapist Frank Tallis introduces us to a few of his most extreme cases of love sickness that are, delicately put...unusual (indelicately put...bonkers). Despite my indelicate intrigue, I am usually respectfully wary of any doctor who puts his own cases on display lest it cross the line into exploitation. But it is apparent very early on that Dr. Tallis approaches these cases with the professional detachment and respect for the anonymity of his patients. He uses these extreme cases as a sp Psychotherapist Frank Tallis introduces us to a few of his most extreme cases of love sickness that are, delicately put...unusual (indelicately put...bonkers). Despite my indelicate intrigue, I am usually respectfully wary of any doctor who puts his own cases on display lest it cross the line into exploitation. But it is apparent very early on that Dr. Tallis approaches these cases with the professional detachment and respect for the anonymity of his patients. He uses these extreme cases as a springboard to examine the power of love in our everyday lives, not only as a bond, but one of the strongest belief systems that humans have. Tallis achieves a professional-level of compassionate detachment from his patients that allows him to examine their lives while inviting us to examine ours as well. I read an early digital manuscript of this book I obtained by being an employee of Hachette Book Group.

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