Wish I Could be There: Notes from a Phobic Life

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Viking, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 267 pages
55 Reviews
A droll, inquisitive, and poignant memoir of agoraphobia from a member of one of New York’s premier literary families

Allen Shawn is afraid of heights, water, fields, parking lots, tunnels, and unknown roads. He avoids taking subways, using elevators, or crossing bridges. In short, he is afraid of both closed and open spaces and of any form of isolation. Yet this is a memoir of enormous bravery.

Shawn grew up in a lively but mysterious world. He is the son of the famous, longtime New Yorkereditor William Shawn and brother to the brilliant playwright and actor Wallace Shawn. His twin sister is autistic, and when they were eight years old, she was put in a home. Though it was kept from him until he was in his thirties, his father led a double life that introduced strict taboos to his household. Shawn examines these influences, his father’s and mother’s phobias, and his own struggle with agoraphobia with generosity, wit, and insight, attempting to decipher the psychological and biological puzzles that have plagued him for so long.

Interwoven with both Freudian psychology and cutting-edge brain research, Shawn has written a profound examination of familial love and the universal struggle to face our demons.

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Review: Wish I Could Be There: Notes From a Phobic Life

User Review  - Dillon Broadwell - Goodreads

This is not a book for everyone. It is dense at points, dry at others but all in all is a very interesting read and I found some nice little nuggets of knowledge and interesting looks on life that i ... Read full review

Review: Wish I Could Be There: Notes From a Phobic Life

User Review  - Deanne - Goodreads

Behind a clever title lies an academic study of the history and nature of phobias completely void of humor or personality. Read full review

All 23 reviews »

Contents

Demons on My Back
1
Father
26
Links in a Chain
45
Copyright

13 other sections not shown

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About the author (2007)

Allen Shawn is on the faculty at Bennington College in Vermont. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly.

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