Why is it that when you’ve apparently got all the time in the world, everything takes four times as long as normal to do? When I was sent a copy of My Life in Thirty-Seven Therapies by Kay Hutchinson to review, I rubbed my hands together in glee and looked forward to starting it straight away. That was the day before lockdown. In theory, I’ve had plenty of time since to get to it – but you all know what it’s like. Suddenly there are a thousand and one things that need urgent attention, from my daughters’ exam traumas to the endless quest to find dried yeast in south east London.
Anyway, enough of the excuses, and on with the review. I did enjoy this book. It’s a rambling sort of autobiography, a bit like Eat, Pray, Love, but more scatter-gun, less Hollywood. As usual, the trouble is men, from Kay’s father onwards, and this poor lady has used 37 different types of therapy to try and wash them right out of her hair. Everything from literal hairdressing (at the BBC no less) to voodoo and cupping, via telephone clairvoyants, astrologers breast message (yes, really) and hypnotherapists, has been tried.
I had lots of questions as I was reading, not least, ‘how did she afford all this therapy?’ and ‘why did she leave her husband, who sounded rather nice?’ The answer to the second question seems to be a mid-life crisis of epic proportions. And the answer to the first is that she was working a lot of the time, on very big projects like the Olympic Legacy, or for various TV stations.
I take my hat off to her, managing to perform in challenging professional circumstances, when she was dealing with so much inwardly. Most of her search seems to have been for love, which I am sure we can all relate to, and she chooses to end the book revealing that she has a new partner. In a way, this seems an old-fashioned ending, for a woman who is clearly open-minded. But it’s the fairy tale that most of us want.
If you’ve ever wondered what might happen if you throw everything up in the air, or want to try an obscure therapy and risk only the price of a book rather than a session, this is for you. I enjoyed it – and I’m very glad I’ve found things that make me happy without having to investigate so thoroughly.