There are so many self help books out there it's overwhelming! Every time I turn my back it seems they multiply. I went through a phase in which I became addicted to them, then I realized most of them have the same basic messages, just phrased in different ways.
If such books had been available to people living during the time of the setting of this book I wonder if they'd have been too embarrassed to buy them? Likewise, therapy wasn't prevalent at the time, either. I can't imagine the stigma, especially in a small town. It probably wouldn't be used until/unless the person completely lost it, then was sent to some sort of facility.
These days it seems almost nothing is taboo. Look at all the "tell-all" memoirs being written, and unauthorized biographies. Then, the tabloids. I don't necessarily believe this aspect of our open society is all that great but I suppose we can choose to look away and not read things. It's just so disconcerting how the public believes nothing is off limits anymore. These two ages of history could hardly be more different.