Person of Interest: Keith Ablow
The good doctor is about to alienate all of Massachusetts.
Dr. Keith Ablowâ€™s 14th book â€” yes, 14th â€” is a curious one. In its way, itâ€™s more shocking than anything the Newburyport psychiatrist has written, quite a feat given that Ablow once published a book calling convicted murderer Scott Peterson a sociopathâ€¦without having met the man. Whatâ€™s jarring about his latest volume, out January 4, isnâ€™t its content but its co-author: Glenn Beck. For a man like Ablow, who built a practice, and then a writing career, and then a daytime television persona by appealing to and giving advice for as broad an audience as possible, working with Beck seems to undermine 21 years of weâ€™re-all-the-same homilies.
Beck, after all, is a polarizing personality. Surely Ablow knows this. Surely half of his audience â€” those living in his native Massachusetts, anyway â€” will look at this new book, The 7: Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life, look at the bylines, look at that gooey cover of Beck holding a child with Ablow in the background admiring the scene, and think, What of that tough yet still amiable bald man I once knew from Oprah? Has he, too, moved to the screaming, clown-footed fringe of the Republican party?
And the answer is â€” we donâ€™t know. But only because this book is not about politics. The 7 is a self-help guide disguised as a memoir, with all the unflinchingly candid and completely nonclichĂ© revelations that accompany real emotional duress and not a few bestsellers. (Beckâ€™s mother committed suicide when he was 13, and it would take decades â€” and a failed marriage, bouts of depression, and AA â€” for Beck to forgive himself for her death.) â€śIâ€™ve never had a clearer sense that Iâ€™m working with someone whoâ€™s genuine,â€ť Ablow says, completely genuine himself. Still, the psychiatrist is asking a lot of his reading public: to look beyond their own political beliefs, and then beneath Beckâ€™s doughy, pink-fleshed exterior, into the scarred (but healing) regions of Beckâ€™s psyche. The bookâ€™s theme â€” one of the seven, at any rate â€” is to understand that being courageous means sometimes acknowledging how scary a situation is, and then proceeding anyway.
The doctor has taken his own diagnosis.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2011/01/person-of-interest-keith-ablow/