The Doc­tor Is In: Dr. Ruth on Love, Life, and Joie de Vivre

Dr. Ruth K. Wes­t­heimer with Pierre A. Lehu
  • Review
By – June 17, 2015

The famous psy­cho­sex­u­al ther­a­pist, radio and tele­vi­sion per­son­al­i­ty, doc­u­men­tar­i­an, lec­tur­er, and author, Dr. Ruth tells all about her approach to liv­ing ful­ly by shar­ing many per­son­al anec­dotes and sug­ges­tions. Dr. Ruth explains many aspects of the con­cept of joie de vivre—includ­ing expe­ri­enc­ing sad­ness, since every life has both highs and lows. She describes her own seri­ous hard­ships: as a Holo­caust sur­vivor, Dr. Ruth lost all her fam­i­ly when she was quite young before emi­grat­ing and serv­ing in the Israeli army, where sus­tained a seri­ous injury; she was divorced twice, raised her daugh­ter as a sin­gle moth­er, and lost her beloved third hus­band to ill­ness. Yet she has always found ways to be pos­i­tive, remem­ber­ing the good instead of not dwelling on the bad.

She strong­ly rec­om­mends look­ing at pho­tos of your hap­py times, tak­ing risks, cut­ting your loss­es, going after what you want.

Dr. Ruth decries bore­dom and says that shar­ing intel­lec­tu­al growth togeth­er, through hob­bies and oth­er inter­ests, is more impor­tant to the con­ti­nu­ity of a lov­ing part­ner­ship than enjoy­ing a great sex­u­al con­nec­tion. She admits to actu­al­ly being shy about dis­cussing sex! Dr. Ruth says it is alright to fan­ta­size as long as you are not actu­al­ly acquaint­ed with the per­son, like a celebri­ty. She is wowed by some famous peo­ple and even name drops a bit.

Dr. Ruth is open about her own lim­i­ta­tions and to the fact that life will inevitably be bumpy. She offers sto­ries about how she ris­es above dif­fi­cul­ties and advis­es the read­er to find a way to do the same. Dr. Ruth jokes about her height and how she ris­es above that imped­i­ment by push­ing her­self for­ward and ask­ing for help. She believes in carpe diem: since one nev­er knows how much time is left, one must make the most of the present in order to have no regrets. 

Dr. Ruth jokes about her pushi­ness, telling the sto­ry of how she pur­sued her third hus­band, Fred Wes­t­heimer, despite or even because she was warned off by a rival for his affection. 

Dr. Ruth val­ues edu­ca­tion great­ly and explains that she is not a med­ical doc­tor, did­n’t fin­ish ele­men­tary or high school due to liv­ing in wartime Europe, nor did she get a col­lege degree, but earned a doc­tor­ate in Edu­ca­tion and always seeks to learn more. At age 86, Dr. Ruth claims that it’s nev­er too late: she will keep work­ing and learn­ing, and she is still becom­ing Dr. Ruth!”

Though many think they know all about Dr. Ruth due to her icon­ic stature, this book offers more that is tru­ly enjoy­able to read in her own famil­iar voice.

Relat­ed Content:

Miri­am Brad­man Abra­hams, mom, grand­mom, avid read­er, some­time writer, born in Havana, raised in Brook­lyn, resid­ing in Long Beach on Long Island. Long­time for­mer One Region One Book chair and JBC liai­son for Nas­sau Hadas­sah, cur­rent­ly pre­sent­ing Inci­dent at San Miguel with author AJ Sidran­sky who wrote the his­tor­i­cal fic­tion based on her Cuban Jew­ish refugee family’s expe­ri­ences dur­ing the rev­o­lu­tion. Flu­ent in Span­ish and Hebrew, cer­ti­fied hatha yoga instructor.

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