A Boyish God is a troubling novel with deep insights. According to author Peter Alan Olsson, “I was jolted to my core when I learned that a college friend’s son died at the Rev. Jim Jones’ side at Jonestown. Two books and over 30 years later, I am still searching for answers … especially about terror prevention.” This fascinating yet terrifying book probes into the psyche of a schoolboy who deeply needs therapy. On the playground of Saint Thomas Moore School in Houston, Sister Agnes hears young Will Powers’ fiery funeral sermon for a dead bird. At the insistence of his teachers, Will reluctantly stops his explosive eulogy. Will’s parents have apparently turned their back on their son and won’t return the school’s calls. The school psychologist turns for help to a trusted psychiatrist friend, who is able to delve into Will’s perspective and what is driving him. But can this troubled boy be helped? The novel is disturbing, but deeply necessary. Perhaps the Rev. Jim Jones at one time was also considered A Boyish God. The story is about the possibilities and profound difficulties in changing destinies. Unlike many melodramatic Hollywood movie scenarios, such changes occurring in psychotherapy are deceptively quiet…muted. Psychotherapy involves many experiences…anxiety, fear, fascination, wonder, boredom, humor/laughter, anger, sadness and often pain. But, the more severe and ominous forms of pain, destruction, and even deaths that are prevented, go unheralded…unnoticed; because existentially, they like a suicide prevented… never exist. Any genuine change in psychotherapy is always a story about two or more lives. People receiving psychotherapy, psychotherapists, counselors, and those in the helping professions will identify with this story. Other readers are sure welcome to join the journey.
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