Book Reviews

Growing Pains: Making Sense of Childhood by Dr. Mike Shooter

I received a copy of this book from Midas PR in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

Amelia, the publicist I worked with for this book, suggested Growing Pains when I told her I liked memoirs and books about dysfunctional families among other things. Obviously, this book was right up my alley. Read on to find out what I thought of it.

Goodreads synopsis:

Growing Pains: Making Sense of Childhood – A Psychiatrist’s Story

Child psychiatrist Dr Mike Shooter sheds light on the painful issues and universal experience of growing up, through the stories of his patients and their families.

Growing up isn’t easy. We can be at our most vulnerable and confused. And the right help isn’t always there when we need it most. For over forty years psychiatrist Mike Shooter has listened to children and adolescents in crisis, helping them to find their stories and begin to make sense of their lives. 

Mike Shooter’s own life has been shaped by his battle with depression. It makes him question received wisdom. He knows labels won’t always fit and one diagnosis will not work for all. 

His patients’ stories are at the heart of this book. Mike Shooter shares their journey as, through therapy, they confront everything from loss and family breakdown to bullying, grief and illness. We see how children begin to make breakthroughs with depression or anxiety, destructive, even sometimes violent behaviour.


Growing Pains is a collection of case studies about the patients Dr. Shooter has seen in his career, right from adolescents with anorexia nervosa to victims of parental neglect. I’ve always been fascinated by the effects of childhood trauma on adults, so reading this book answered so many questions I’ve had before.

Dr. Shooter presents each case study in layman’s terms. Some cases can be a little heartbreaking, especially if you can relate to any of them, but the way they’re written and the resolution at the end of the chapter definitely make them worth the read.

There were some chapters where I’d have liked a little more details, but Growing Pains is an enjoyable read, nonetheless. Read it if you like memoirs, stories about childhood trauma, and would like a look behind the scenes of healthcare.

Rating: 4 out of 5

~ Shruti

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