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Psychology and Other Stories

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FINALIST FOR THE VICTORIA BUTLER BOOK PRIZE “C.P. Boyko's second offering is brilliantly bold. Playful and dire and scholarly all at once, Psychology may well be the most audaciously original collection of Canadian fiction, ever. Mr. Mustard alone is worth the price of admission.”—Bill Gaston, author of Mount Appetite “Very revealing.”—Hubert T. Ross, PhD, PsyD, DPsy Psycholo FINALIST FOR THE VICTORIA BUTLER BOOK PRIZE “C.P. Boyko's second offering is brilliantly bold. Playful and dire and scholarly all at once, Psychology may well be the most audaciously original collection of Canadian fiction, ever. Mr. Mustard alone is worth the price of admission.”—Bill Gaston, author of Mount Appetite “Very revealing.”—Hubert T. Ross, PhD, PsyD, DPsy Psychologists are people we admire and resent. At best, they're compassionate detectives of the human soul, healers and diagnosticians, assessing the internal machinations that structure our lives and behavior. At worst, however, they're smug, hyper-educated, bombastic, yappy, socially deaf, thrice-divorced and twice-separated spouse-swapping cat-torturing perverts. Plus, they're all in this book. And so are their patients. C.P. Boyko’s Psychology and Other Stories is replete with analysts, attorneys, criminals, Freudians, wardens, and self-help gurus. From Dr. Pringle’s treatment-resisting young patient in “Reaction-Formation” to the philandering forensic psychiatrist of “The Blood-Brain Barrier,” Psychology is a droll dissection of industry archetypes—as well as a brilliant study of mental illness, mental health, and the people who try to tell them apart.  


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FINALIST FOR THE VICTORIA BUTLER BOOK PRIZE “C.P. Boyko's second offering is brilliantly bold. Playful and dire and scholarly all at once, Psychology may well be the most audaciously original collection of Canadian fiction, ever. Mr. Mustard alone is worth the price of admission.”—Bill Gaston, author of Mount Appetite “Very revealing.”—Hubert T. Ross, PhD, PsyD, DPsy Psycholo FINALIST FOR THE VICTORIA BUTLER BOOK PRIZE “C.P. Boyko's second offering is brilliantly bold. Playful and dire and scholarly all at once, Psychology may well be the most audaciously original collection of Canadian fiction, ever. Mr. Mustard alone is worth the price of admission.”—Bill Gaston, author of Mount Appetite “Very revealing.”—Hubert T. Ross, PhD, PsyD, DPsy Psychologists are people we admire and resent. At best, they're compassionate detectives of the human soul, healers and diagnosticians, assessing the internal machinations that structure our lives and behavior. At worst, however, they're smug, hyper-educated, bombastic, yappy, socially deaf, thrice-divorced and twice-separated spouse-swapping cat-torturing perverts. Plus, they're all in this book. And so are their patients. C.P. Boyko’s Psychology and Other Stories is replete with analysts, attorneys, criminals, Freudians, wardens, and self-help gurus. From Dr. Pringle’s treatment-resisting young patient in “Reaction-Formation” to the philandering forensic psychiatrist of “The Blood-Brain Barrier,” Psychology is a droll dissection of industry archetypes—as well as a brilliant study of mental illness, mental health, and the people who try to tell them apart.  

30 review for Psychology and Other Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    hiaa123

    "You want to discredit psychology as a science? Fine. I'll do it for you...They're all bunk. Of course they are. They're just stories we make up to explain why we do things, but none of us even knows why we do things ourself so how can we expect to make a science out of why everyone does everything that they do?" I think that is basically the main idea of Boyko's short story collection. Fair point but I was looking for more narrative, more story. I'm fascinated by psychology and story, and whil "You want to discredit psychology as a science? Fine. I'll do it for you...They're all bunk. Of course they are. They're just stories we make up to explain why we do things, but none of us even knows why we do things ourself so how can we expect to make a science out of why everyone does everything that they do?" I think that is basically the main idea of Boyko's short story collection. Fair point but I was looking for more narrative, more story. I'm fascinated by psychology and story, and while I mostly agree with Dr. Strickland's monologue there, I didn't find this book to be particularly engaging. Mostly because I was expecting stories and I didn't feel like I got stories. Though I guess the point is that psychology is just fiction and so is everything else (including the author as he points out at the end of the book). My favourite story from the collection would be the last story, "The Blood-Brain Barrier" because it was more of a narrative than the rest, while still doing its work of being critical of the field of psychology. I was also enjoying "Paddling an Iceberg" and the satire of the self-help industry at first but then the story and the narrator and the author begin to blur and it just seems like you're getting an essay of the narrator/author's? opinions. In "Reaction-Formation" we learn that "what literature must aim to be, if it is to be literature at all: an expression of, a monument to, its creator's individuality." I can't say I completely agree with that but I guess that is what Boyko is doing with this collection. In Signal to Noise, we get this observation: "But everyone has a story. Life as we know it is less like a cohesive novel than an anthology of unrelated short stories whose protagonists, caught up in the development of their own individual plots, take no notice of one another. Novels, unlike collections of stories, promote the illusion that humans are not completely, or not always, incarcerated in their own concerns - that it is sometimes possible for our storylines to intersect, or even merge. Perhaps that is why people prefer novels to short stories: escapism." Boyko is obviously very deliberate about the form of his collection. In fact, I see his collection as more of a creative persuasive argument or essay that chose the form of "short stories" to illustrate his point about fiction, storytelling, and psychology. And that's creative and brilliant but I was looking for escapism I guess. Anyway, I'd like to end off with this quote from Mr. Custard: "Eventually I figured it out, that feeling crazy is about the sanest way to feel in this world...Ain't we all surrounded by sickos and loonies who think there's something wrong with us?"

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Griffis

    Too much bouncing back and forth to be able to understand what was going on until the end of a section.. I liked certain “moments” during the book but probably because I am a psych nurse and understood a lot of the terms and disorders but overall I wouldn’t recommend this book and it wasn’t a page turner where I would read late into the night because I couldn’t get enough of it .. I was happy when I finished it and could move on to a different book .

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tashana

    Frankly, I'm writing this review because I feel an attachment to this author due to his nationality (Canadians support Canadians) and because of this book's underrated status. I picked it up at random during a trip to the book store a few years ago, and I'm happy to say that I'm pleased with its purchase and its long-overdue reading. "Psychology and Other Stories" was a clever, charming little collection that I would recommend to anyone who has the slightest interest in psychology. That being sai Frankly, I'm writing this review because I feel an attachment to this author due to his nationality (Canadians support Canadians) and because of this book's underrated status. I picked it up at random during a trip to the book store a few years ago, and I'm happy to say that I'm pleased with its purchase and its long-overdue reading. "Psychology and Other Stories" was a clever, charming little collection that I would recommend to anyone who has the slightest interest in psychology. That being said, it's not really about the psychology taught in schools (although people with a better understand of Freudian concepts will probably appreciate it a little more). It's about the industry, which you have probably read on the back side of the book itself. Boyko presents his view on how psychology is used in society, sometimes subtly and sometimes not so subtly. I found this particularly intriguing in "Paddling the Iceberg", a satire of the of so-called self-help professionals, as well as "Blood-Brain Barrier", an examination of psychology in law. Boyko also presents his stories in non-linear ways, which only increases the bizarre tones of each of them. There are parts of the book where you'll get confused because of all the jumping timelines and shifts in perspective. Luckily, these quirks effectively contribute to his over exaggerated characters and plot lines. This wasn't a perfect book full of perfect storytelling, and the concepts introduced can be arguable, but Boyko does an advanced job in what I believe to be his main objective: making the reader question what exactly psychology is, and how misconstrued and blurry it can be in its very definition.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Adam Thorn

    This book offers satire and bi-linear story telling with an incredible attention to detail that's purposeful instead of unnecessary. The language is accessible to anyone on a 5th grade reading level or into pop psychology. In "Reaction-Formation" where a young man at a private academy struggles with the urge for click acceptance and the horror of public masturbation in the school's secret literary society is wonderful. The book on the whole isn't a page turner. It's one of those books you start This book offers satire and bi-linear story telling with an incredible attention to detail that's purposeful instead of unnecessary. The language is accessible to anyone on a 5th grade reading level or into pop psychology. In "Reaction-Formation" where a young man at a private academy struggles with the urge for click acceptance and the horror of public masturbation in the school's secret literary society is wonderful. The book on the whole isn't a page turner. It's one of those books you start silently resenting after a couple weeks go by. The best humble opinion, is "Signal To Noise" that draws a sardonic picture of the American Institutionalization.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    This is the best book I've read so far this year, but I'm going to have to stop. Big fat reality slap to the face. Edit - I calmed down a bit and read through this. Wow. Really an awesome collection of stories. So excited to see what this author does next. This book could be very upsetting if you've ever had a warped experience with a mental health professional or a psychopath. But it's cool to have some things validated, even if in fiction. I think the last story is best and should be read first This is the best book I've read so far this year, but I'm going to have to stop. Big fat reality slap to the face. Edit - I calmed down a bit and read through this. Wow. Really an awesome collection of stories. So excited to see what this author does next. This book could be very upsetting if you've ever had a warped experience with a mental health professional or a psychopath. But it's cool to have some things validated, even if in fiction. I think the last story is best and should be read first (Blood Brain Barrier.) Unless you want to save the best for last. Nevermind.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tina Marie

    This book came to me as a goodreads giveaway. I really wanted to love this book, but in truth I found a bit awkward. The language was more appropriate to a psychology text book than a work of fiction, making it a rather dry read. I found the narrative rather disjointed at times as well. I often had the impression that the author wasn't sure if he wanted to write short stories or psychological case studies & I believe that this identity crisis is where the work suffered. This book came to me as a goodreads giveaway. I really wanted to love this book, but in truth I found a bit awkward. The language was more appropriate to a psychology text book than a work of fiction, making it a rather dry read. I found the narrative rather disjointed at times as well. I often had the impression that the author wasn't sure if he wanted to write short stories or psychological case studies & I believe that this identity crisis is where the work suffered.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    Out of the six stories in this book, I liked the last one the best. The fifth one was kind of interesting, but seemed to be more of a pseudo-historical portrait of Freud than an independent story. A lot of the others I couldn't really get into. The psychology stuff was a little too thinly veiled for me (I know, it's in the title...) Out of the six stories in this book, I liked the last one the best. The fifth one was kind of interesting, but seemed to be more of a pseudo-historical portrait of Freud than an independent story. A lot of the others I couldn't really get into. The psychology stuff was a little too thinly veiled for me (I know, it's in the title...)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shivanand Velmurugan

    Delightful read. Craig is not a raconteur that tells stories that are tied up with pretty little bows. He paints his characters and his plotlines, and then invites you to complete them, perhaps as you will!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jess Johnson

    i'm at a loss for words regarding the intricacy, thoughtfulness and astuteness of this book. if you love good literature and you accurate, real and unsettling interpretations of the human psyche, get your hands on this book, mark it up, let it inspire the hell out of you. i'm at a loss for words regarding the intricacy, thoughtfulness and astuteness of this book. if you love good literature and you accurate, real and unsettling interpretations of the human psyche, get your hands on this book, mark it up, let it inspire the hell out of you.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jen Jones

    Interesting subject matter written in a Jonathan Franzen-like format of literary prose integrated with non-fiction essay style segments. Seemed forced, occasionally, but there are moments of brilliance.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Akeiisa

    An interesting idea for a collection of stories. I think I liked the premise better than the actual book. As someone familiar with psychological theories and language, some of the psychology/psychiatry jargon is off putting.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tami

    i completely enjoyed this collection

  13. 4 out of 5

    Myriam

    I finished the first story and then did not have access to the book anymore (had to return it to the library unfortunately) I quite liked it and will try to finish it at some later time.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rubybliels

  15. 5 out of 5

    Riley

  16. 4 out of 5

    Justin Garnette

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michael Saevitzon

  18. 5 out of 5

    Meilyn

  19. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  20. 4 out of 5

    Biblioasis

  21. 4 out of 5

    Terryx

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vivian

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jacara Brown

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michael Bennett

  26. 5 out of 5

    Keith

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel Alan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Monica

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Yew

  30. 5 out of 5

    A

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