Stories are therapeutic. Jesus, the Great Physician, told stories. For decades Reader's Digest has been telling us that laughter is the best medicine, making its case with funny stories. We all read stories, listen to stories, tell stories and watch stories on television and in movies because of how this makes us feel. And psychologists and psychiatrists attempt to help their patients by getting them to tell their stories.
Umrigar's novel is not nearly as simple or simplistic as that summary may suggest. She develops her characters fully, giving them many layers and many stories that reveal how they got where they are.
Yes, reading The Story Hour is therapeutic. It makes you feel better.