“When Nietzsche Wept” is the imagined meeting of Dr. Breuer and Nietzsche. There’s no actual evidence that the two met, but Irvin Yalom uses his understanding of the two men to create a scenario for what would’ve happened had Nietzsche sought out Dr. Breuer’s talking treatments. Dr. Josef Breuer was one of the founding fathers of psychology. He is a real life contemporary and mentor to Sigmund Freud.
I had to return the book before I was finished reading and had to switch over to the audiobook. I’m typically not an audiobook fan but it worked for this one. The plot is carried through the conversations between Breuer and Nietzsche, so listening to them talk wasn’t hard. It was a similar experience to listening to a podcast. I don’t agree with many of the choices Dr. Beuer made, nor do I put much credence into Nietzsche’s philosophy. There’s an arrogance to Nietzsche and his pronouncement that nothing is worth living for but yourself. Dr. Breuer also embodies a lot of male entitlement in his avoidance of his kids and wife. While he complains about being put into boxes and hating the stereotypes that society has placed on him, he also is happy to assert them on his wife and use them to his advantage when it suits his needs. There was a lot to discuss, however, so I would recommend this as a book club pic.