Reading Matters

David Payne’s reading riveting

It’s always a risk to invite my husband along to a reading. Most of the time, he’d rather be watching the Panthers or re-runs of “L.A. Law.” But last week, we were both in for a unusual treat at Park Road Books.

Hillsborough’s David Payne was reading from his memoir about his brother’s death, “Barefoot to Avalon,” and it turned out to be a riveting and enlightening evening.

Payne read -- a group of his former Queens University MFA students was on hand -- a dramatic scene about the actual death of his brother Georga A. Vivid. Breathtaking. Heartbreaking. I looked over at my husband. Completely absorbed.

Afterward, Payne took questions and answered, as far as we could tell, with openness and a kind of elegant simplicity.

Someone mentioned a guest column he’d written a couple of days before for the New York Times. He said it was about group therapy, which you don’t hear discussed very often. He spent six years with eight other clients and two leaders in group therapy in Chapel Hill. He swears it’s the only thing that ever led to permanent personality changes. Why Group Therapy Worked

The memoir, reviewed Sunday on the Observer’s book page, is fantastic. I give it unrestrained kudos.