Published by Simon & Schuster on July 3, 2012
Genres/Lists: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Read synopsis on Goodreads
Buy the book: Amazon/Audible (this post includes affiliate links)
I first saw this book when it popped up in my Goodreads feed. It’s a memoir about anxiety, and it was supposed to be hilarious. A friend of mine had just finished it and said that it was a great book that articulated her anxiety in a way that she was not able to do. Because I myself have a tendency to be quite anxious, I immediately scooped a copy and started reading.
Maybe it was my high expectations, but the book wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. It was funny and even clever at times, but I was expecting to feel the highs and lows of the anxiety-ridden author. Instead, I felt like I was reading a collection of awkward experiences (which was amusing) and stumbled right along with him. It was hard for me to really identify with the book, and that’s not necessarily the book’s fault. In the book, Smith says, “Anxiety is a narcissism machine. To have found a way to use it for good is unusual indeed,” and I get the feeling that this book was written as a way for the author to unload his burden.
In all fairness, there were some really hilarious stories and I’m glad I read the book (overall). Smith is a good writer with a lot of insight into the mind of the anxious, and I think he could go quite far in the world of non-fiction. The book had a very self-helpish vibe, so maybe that’s a genre that Smith should consider. He has a way of breaking down anxiety’s complexities and placing them in nice and neat little sentences. They were so neat and nice that they sounded a lot like the daily affirmations that you would hang on your bathroom mirror. I have included a few here:
- “Admit the anxiety as an essential part of yourself and in exchange that anxiety will be converted into energy, unstable but manageable. Stop with the self-flagellating and become yourself, with scars and tics.”
- “Freedom is anxiety’s petri dish. If routine blunts anxiety, freedom incubates it.”
- “Anxiety is the stage a person has to pass through on his way to creating himself.“
In summation, if you love memoirs or are extremely anxious, then you should read this book. If nothing else, you’ll learn some breathing techniques and take temporary comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Plus, your embarrassing moments are probably nothing compared to Smith’s, and you’ll get in a few good laughs.
PS I only found one grammatical error. So that’s a bonus!