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Group by Christie Tate



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by Christie Tate

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Quick take

A skeptical woman seeks help from an unconventional therapist in this no-holds-barred memoir about group therapy.

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    Unlikeable narrator

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    Writer's life


Christie Tate had just been named the top student in her law school class and finally had her eating disorder under control. Why then was she driving through Chicago fantasizing about her own death? Why was she envisioning putting an end to the isolation and sadness that still plagued her in spite of her achievements?

Enter Dr. Rosen, a therapist who calmly assures her that if she joins one of his psychotherapy groups, he can transform her life. All she has to do is show up and be honest. About everything—her eating habits, childhood, sexual history, etc. Christie is skeptical, insisting that that she is defective, beyond cure. But Dr. Rosen issues a nine-word prescription that will change everything: “You don’t need a cure, you need a witness.

So begins her entry into the strange, terrifying, and ultimately life-changing world of group therapy. Christie is initially put off by Dr. Rosen’s outlandish directives, but as her defenses break down and she comes to trust Dr. Rosen and to depend on the sessions and the prescribed nightly phone calls with various group members, she begins to understand what it means to connect.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Group.

Part 1


The first time I wished for death—like, really wished its bony hand would tap me on the shoulder and say “this way”—two bags from Stanley’s Fruit and Vegetables sat shotgun in my car. Cabbage, carrots, a few plums, bell peppers, onions, and two dozen red apples. It had been three days since my visit to the bursar’s office, where the law school registrar handed me a notecard with my class rank, a number that had begun to haunt me. I turned the key in the ignition and waited for the engine to turn over in the ninety-degree heat. I pulled a plum out of the bag, tested it for firmness, and took a bite. The skin was thick but the flesh beneath was tender. I let the juice dribble down my chin.

It was eight thirty. Saturday morning. I had nowhere to be, nothing to do. No one was expecting to see me until Monday morning, when I’d report for duty at Laird, Griffin & Griffin, the labor law firm where I was a summer intern. At LG&G only the receptionist and the partner who hired me knew I existed. The Fourth of July was Wednesday, which meant I’d face yet another stifling, empty day in the middle of the week. I’d find a 12-step meeting and hope that people would want to go for coffee afterward. Maybe another lonely soul would want to catch a movie or grab a salad. The engine hummed to life, and I gunned the car out of the parking lot.

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Why I love it

In my twenties I suffered a great deal of loss—my parents to car accidents and cancer and almost all my other relatives in the space of a few years. I saw several therapists, but none of them helped. It’s taken me years to understand that those doctors couldn’t help in a meaningful way because they hadn’t experienced my specific variety of pain. In fact, the only times I felt unalone were around other people who’d suffered in the ways that I had. When I read Christie Tate’s Group, I traveled back to that dark period—but in an utterly different way. I saw what might have been, had I found my own community of supporters.

Tate describes hitting rock bottom before meeting Dr. Rosen, a nontraditional therapist who leads an unconventional psychotherapy group. At first resistant to Rosen’s unusual approach—mandatory nightly phone calls, exposed guts, and the expectation that members keep no secrets about themselves or each other—over time, Tate finds that her experiences in that room help her not only heal, but thrum with life.

Group is not a compendium of therapeutic niceties. It is not a manual or a simple memoir. It is, rather, a daring admission of how the will to live can come from the most unexpected of places. It is not for the reader to judge the eccentric (and often wildly entertaining) methods of Dr. Rosen and their reverberations for the group, but to hear that we all suffer, and we all claw to get out of holes. For me, this book is an antidote and a consent—whatever place you find salvation, that’s the right place to be.

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Member ratings (3,555)

  • Andrea H.

    Austin, TX

    This book was so raw, funny, and personable. Tate’s introspection forces the reader to take a look at herself, and Dr. Rosen’s and the Groups’ support leaps off the page to make the reader feel loved

  • Jared B.

    Hernando, MS

    I don’t read a lot of memoirs, but this one is so honest, so real, and so engaging. I was hooked from the first page. Tate fearlessly puts her experiences out there for the world and it’s a true gift.


    Philadelphia, PA

    Christie’s years of truth-telling and practiced vulnerability from time spent in Dr. Rosen’s groups lends to a clear, blunt, endearing story-telling voice. You root for her and yell/cry alongside her

  • Payton D.

    Somerville, MA

    Made me want to try group therapy lol the genuineness of the book was like nothing I’ve ever read before. I went on a journey with the character and is hands down the best non-fiction book I’ve read

  • Liz L.

    Gulf Shores, AL

    This book was so enlightening and relatable. It takes away the shame of therapy and how impactful it can be. I couldn’t put it down. I hope by reading this book, people are encouraged to do the work.

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