by Koren Zailckas

Penguin, 2010. ISBN 978-0-670-02230-4.
Reviewed by Susan M. Andrus
Posted on 09/15/2010

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Life Lessons; Nonfiction: Relationships

When I was in grad school studying counseling and psychology, I learned that equally positive results could be attained either through face-to-face counseling, group therapy, or bibliotherapy (reading a book about healing). Koren Zailckas's book, Fury, is a superb example of bibliotherapy.

She sets out to write a book about anger after publishing her first book, Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood. While doing the research for this new book, Zailckas gets stuck in the details. She cannot write the book until a breakup with her boyfriend sends her home to live with her parents for a few months, waiting for her sublet apartment to be available. Here she finds herself reliving the scenes from her childhood and responding to her parents in the same angry way she used in the past.

Under the guise of "research," she attends group therapy for people needing anger management skills and tries various therapies such as homeopathy, yoga, counseling, Tonglen meditation, and journaling. This memoir is her journal, creatively interwoven with facts from her research. She says, "The book I was trying to write when I undertook this subject four years ago died on the delivery table for the same reason this record now exists: I set out to write an objective book about modern remedies for anger and I ended up with an achingly personal account of why I went looking for remedies in the first place."

Zailckas identifies characteristics of people who have anger issues, including perfectionism, fear, family histories of anger or avoidance of anger, passive- aggressive behavior, and other self-defeating behaviors. Fortunately for me, an owner of many of these characteristics, I learned from reading Fury that there's hope for people like me. May they find this amusing, insightful report as helpful as I did.

Koren Zailckas is a bestselling American writer and memoirist. Her debut, Smashed, was released in 2005 by Viking Penguin and became a New York Times bestseller. Zailckas attended Nashoba Regional High School in Bolton, Massachusetts and Syracuse University. Visit her website.

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