Sep 21

Review of The Cay by Theodore Taylor

Book Reviews 0 ★★★½

So, story behind this review. My dear husband is a wonderful man who is very supportive of my reading and book buying habits – but he doesn’t read himself, at least not for enjoyment. The other day we were in Books-a-million (the only town I’ve ever been in with one of those that was still open for business), and he randomly asked me if I’d ever heard of a book called “The Cay.” I hadn’t. He said it was one of the last books he remembered reading, because he had to read it in 6th or 7th grade for a class in school. I was a bit shocked that there was a book on a school reading program that I hadn’t read,  so naturally I had to go looking for it. Lo and behold, they had a little Yearling paperback copy and it came home with us.

Review of The Cay by Theodore TaylorThe Cay by Theodore Taylor
Published by Yearling on May 28th 2002
Genres: Children's Lit
Pages: 144
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Goodreads three-half-stars

Phillip is excited when the Germans invade the small island of Curaçao. War has always been a game to him, and he’s eager to glimpse it firsthand–until the freighter he and his mother are traveling to the United States on is torpedoed.   When Phillip comes to, he is on a small raft in the middle of the sea. Besides Stew Cat, his only companion is an old West Indian, Timothy. Phillip remembers his mother’s warning about black people: “They are different, and they live differently.”    But by the time the castaways arrive on a small island, Phillip’s head injury has made him blind and dependent on Timothy.

I wasn’t at all sure what to expect going into this. I’d never heard of the book or the author despite it apparently being a “children’s classic” (??), but Gary Paulsen (didn’t we all read Hatchet?) wrote the introduction so I thought it surely couldn’t be too bad. I was super skeptical though, on reading the blurb…I mean, it’s clearly meant to be a demonstration of how we are all PEOPLE above whatever color our skin is, but I was concerned that a book written in 1969 might not be as socially aware as it was thought at the time of publication.

It was an entertaining enough  little story, if a little slow at times. The style is a little dated, and I think modern kids might get bored (my husband said it was a slog for him), but an avid reader would breeze through it. I’m still a little on the fence as far as the representation. Timothy, the black man who saves Phillip from the sinking ship, is West Indian and repeatedly described as ugly – it does seem that most of his ugliness in Phillip’s eyes is due to his age, though whenever Philip has a disagreement with Timothy he blames it on Timothy’s race. At first he agrees with his mother’s statement on black people, “They are different and they live differently. That’s the way it must be.” Gradually however, he changes his mind as he actually gets to know Timothy and Timothy cares for him week after week. It was definitely predictable, but the addition of Stew Cat was sweet and I loved how he and Philip were such good buddies.

Timothy’s dialogue is ALL written in dialect, something that is not only (in my opinion) annoying to read but also tends to belittle the character speaking the lines. I understand it can and is sometimes only used as a device to help the reader imagine the way a character sounds – after all, there are a lot of different accents in the world – but it’s an older device and has fallen out of favor due to the frequent implication that the person is inferior in some way. Also, its use makes it more difficult for some of the intended audience to comprehend the dialogue.

The dialect issue was probably my biggest one with the book, since by the time the resolution comes Philip has entirely revamped his view of black people (and we hope, of anyone else different from him). I was also bothered by another aspect of Timothy’s story, but can’t really discuss it without spoilers, so….I’ll just leave it at that.

Overall, it was an okay book. I think there are much BETTER books on the market now, that would suit the purpose of helping privileged kids see outside of their world, but in 1969 this was probably pretty revolutionary.

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three-half-stars

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Sep 15

Presenting: Bent Needle Designs BOOK SLEEVES!

Books/Writing, Crafting 6

book sleeves

Makers and dreamers. Readers and artists. So often we are one and the same. People who read, dream. And people who dream usually have one or more creative outlets.

Introducing my creative outlet: Bent Needle Designs Etsy store! I started off making organizer and project bags for OTHER makers, but recently expanded into making the ever-so-popular book sleeves! I’m very proud of these and after using them myself for several weeks think any on-the-go reader will love them as well. The books I’ve been dragging around with me during my reading slump are still in pristine condition, no bumped edges or bent pages. It really is the best thing I’ve done for myself and the condition of my library in ages, haha.

I am especially excited about these Halloween themed prints! Some of you might remember from last year’s Halloween Read-a-thon, I LOVE HALLOWEEN.

Right now there are both hardcover and paperback sleeves in stock, so check it out and see what you think! More will be listed this weekend, in the gorgeous Rifle Paper Company fabrics. 🙂

There is also a special, instant coupon when you subscribe to the shop newsletter, so definitely sign up – not only will you get the coupon, but advance notice of sales, new designs, etc.

Don’t worry, I won’t be turning this into a sales blog – but I did have to share and will post new bookish stuffs every now and then. Happy reading!

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Sep 11

Down the TBR Hole #24

Books/Writing 3

down the tbr hole

Time to wield the axe again – I’m mercilessly culling my TBR list on GoodReads with the amazing Down the TBR Hole meme by Lia at Lost in a Story (who has, somehow, already made it completely through his own TBR)!

Most of you probably know this feeling. Your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well, that’s going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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When I started this series of posts, I had 604 books on my TBR list. I’m now up to 636 (life of a bookworm, haha), but I’m still making progress!

Title/Author: The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1) by Samantha Shannon

Date Added: June 14, 2015

Thoughts: This sounds interesting but not at the same time.

Judgment: Go.

Title/Author: Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone #1), by Leigh Bardugo

Date Added: June 14, 2015

Thoughts: Still sounds cool, still want to read at some point!

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: Into the Wilderness (Wilderness #1), by Sara Donati

Date Added: June 18, 2015

Thoughts: Sounds a lot like Outlander…and funny enough, has an endorsement from Gabaldon on the cover!

Judgment: Keep!

Title/Author: The Deerslayer, by James Fenimore Cooper

Date Added: June 18, 2015

Thoughts: This is one of those classic works I feel obligated to read. Sometime.

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper

Date Added: June 18, 2015

Thoughts: This is what I actually wanted to read, but since it’s the sequel to the one above I put them both on the list.

Judgment: Go, since I really feel like I need to read the first one before…

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2/5 this week! Not too bad. Just 5 this week – hopefully more interesting things later this week!

 

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Sep 10

Sunday Post #4 – The Miracle Morning and Getting Back to Myself

Book Reviews, Books/Writing, Life 2 ★★★★★

Hey everyone! Back with another Sunday Post update, via Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

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Bear with me folks, this post is part weekly update and part book review! This week I focused really hard on something I’ve been lacking a lot of lately – taking care of myself. I am always taking care of other people. At work, I not only take care of patients, I take care of co-workers that work under me or are less experienced. I also seem to attract anyone with problems and everyone likes to talk to me – which I find very ironic, since I am generally very quiet and keep to myself. At home, I take care of my husband – which is, of course, a mutual thing, but I still feel like I need to make sure he is happy and not starving, etc. etc. I do things for myself, of course, but I never completely immerse myself in any of them. I always have one eye and ear out on the people around me (even when I try my hardest to at least APPEAR like I am ignoring them in hopes I won’t be interrupted).

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Sunday Post #4 – The Miracle Morning and Getting Back to MyselfThe Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod
Published by Hal Elrod on December 7th 2012
Pages: 140
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Goodreads five-stars

What if you could miraculously wake up tomorrow and any-or every area of your life was transformed? What would be different? Would you be happier? Healthier? More successful? In better shape? Would you have more energy? Less Stress? More Money? Better relationships? Which of your problems would be solved? What if I told you that there is a "not-so-obvious" secret that is guaranteed to transform any-or literally every area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible? What if I told you it would only take 6 minutes a day? Enter The Miracle Morning. What's now being practiced by thousands of people around the world could perhaps be the simplest approach to creating the life you've always wanted. It's been right there in front of us, but this book has finally brought it to life. Are you ready? The next chapter of your life-the most extraordinary life you've ever imagined-is about to begin. IT'S TIME TO WAKE UP TO YOUR FULL POTENTIAL...

Last weekend, I read The Miracle Morning after hearing it much raved about, particularly by Kara over at Boho Berry. I was dubious, not going to lie. I already get up super early in the morning and the idea of voluntarily getting up even earlier wasn’t very appealing. However, I decided to give Mr. Elrod and his S.A.V.E.R.S. (Silence, Affirmation, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, Scribing) a try. The book in and of itself was inspiring, with all kinds of motivating quotes.

I’m on my sixth day of The Miracle Morning, and while I’m not sure my actual productivity has increased or anything like that – I feel better. I feel better about myself, more motivated, more relaxed, more confident. I can’t recommend this book enough, and for EVERYONE – students, entrepeneurs, professionals – wherever you are, the principles in this book are applicable. Are they new? No. But, if you’re like me, maybe it had never occurred to you how to string all these things together for your own maximum benefit. Hal also has a way of writing that just makes you want to GO DO THINGS and also makes you think you can conquer the world – all very invigorating.

I want to point out that I was initially rather sketch on this whole idea, because I thought for sure it would be a gimmick to get you to buy more of Hal’s products. Actually, anything he references in the book as far as handouts, online community, etc – is FREE. I was very pleasantly surprised. I joined the Miracle Morning FB group, but haven’t really participated as to be honest I really prefer the bullet journal-centric Boho Berry Tribe group! It seems to have a lot of the same vibe – positive, energetic, uplifting, motivating – all while being just as obsessed with bullet journals and art stuff as I am. Haha.

Let me know if you read and give this a try! I’d love to hear how it works out for you. Or if you’ve already tried it, I’d love to hear about that too!

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With all that said, I am still trying to find a schedule that really works for me. Getting up early and having some “me time” has definitely helped, but I am still struggling to balance writing, work, and family commitments. I’ll figure it out eventually. In the meantime…

Next Week on the Blog:

Down the TBR Hole #25
A Super Almost-Secret Squirrel Announcement
Maybe a book review?

Yeah, see. Not so organized. But still here, and feeling hopeful and like I might actually start swimming soon, as opposed to just treading water!

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five-stars

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Sep 05

Down the TBR Hole #23

Books/Writing 0

down the tbr hole

Time to wield the axe again – I’m mercilessly culling my TBR list on GoodReads with the amazing Down the TBR Hole meme by Lia at Lost in a Story (who has, somehow, already made it completely through his own TBR)!

Most of you probably know this feeling. Your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well, that’s going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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When I started this series of posts, I had 604 books on my TBR list. Last week I made quite a bit of progress through sheer organization, and I this week I haven’t added that many so I am at 638. Off we go again!

Title/Author: Marley & Me, by John Grogan

Date Added: June 9, 2015

Thoughts: Because of course I want to bawl my eyes out on a dog book.

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: Hands of Light, by Barbara Ann Brennan

Date Added: June 9, 2015

Thoughts: Still not sure what I think of this subject, but am particularly intrigued by this book because the author is a physicist by profession.

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: The Highly Sensitive Person, by Elaine N. Aron

Date Added: June 9, 2015

Thoughts: Recommended by a good friend. Bought a copy. Unread on the shelf because I’m afraid of finding out more about myself.

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: Essential Reiki, by Diane Stein

Date Added: June 9, 2015

Thoughts: I actually ended up taking a class on Reiki.

Judgment: Go.

  

Title/Author: Insurgent, Allegiant, and Four (Divergent series), by Veronica Roth

Date Added: June 11, 2015

Thoughts: Despite having the end of the series MASSIVELY SPOILED for me after I read the first one, I’d still like to finish it at some point.

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: Inceptio, by Alison Morton

Date Added: June 11, 2015

Thoughts: I have no memory AT ALL of this, and no one I know how read it…where did this come from?

Judgment: Go.

Title/Author: Shadow Wolf (Wolves of the Beyond #2), by Kathryn Lasky

Date Added: June 13, 2015

Thoughts: Yes, at some point I want to finish reading this adorable little series…I read the first one but never picked up the rest!

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spires #1), by Jim Butcher

Date Added: June 14, 2015

Thoughts: I pre-ordered this book. HOW HAVE I NOT READ IT YET??

Judgment: Keep. Obviously.

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Well, down by 2 this week. Not great, but better than none. Now if I could just read more! Until next time…

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Sep 05

Repost from Word Wonders

Books/Writing 0

Check out Fadwa’s blog!

This was a super interesting read and brought up ideas and points about representation that I had never, ever thought of. Definitely worth the time to read and consider – I’m always trying to expand my horizons and see outside the box of my own experiences. I hope maybe at some point Fadwa puts out a list of her recommendations for books with this kind of rep!

Maybe I’m just technically challenged, but I couldn’t figure out how to get the actual “reblog” function to work to THIS site (it kept sending to my old wordpress.com hosted site), so I did it this way.

 

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Sep 04

August Recap

Books/Writing 0

august recap

Happy Labor Day, fellow bookworms! I am thoroughly enjoying my long weekend. In lieu of the Sunday Post this week you are getting my August recap! Pretty short this time…I have been reading some – not a lot, but some, which is a huge improvement over most of last month. However, August did see the return of my reading mojo, to some extent. Still not up to where it was this time a year ago, but it’s progress. I’ve had a ton of other stuff going on in the last few months so I’m just grateful to be able to read and enjoy at all! I’ve ALSO been working on a new project near and dear to my heart…which I’ll be sharing with you guys later this week. If I can wait that long. 😉

Read:

  

Generally speaking, I suck at reading sequels so I was super proud of myself for finishing Silver Stars…which I thought was the end of a duology but naturally turned out to be the 2nd of a trilogy. Oops. But I’m super excited for the next one, Purple Hearts, which (also naturally) won’t be out until January 2018. *eyeroll* Because of course. In the meantime you can read my review of the FIRST book in this series, Front Lines – and hopefully sometime in the next few weeks I’ll have a Silver Stars review up!

I enjoyed RoseBlood much more than I thought I would after reading some super scathing reviews! I was so happy because I had high hopes and I feel like A.G. Howard really delivered. More on that later as well!

The book on Rottweilers was because we are looking into obtaining one as a service dog for my husband. It was very informative and the authors obviously had a lot of experience. No plans to review this one!

Reviewed:

 

You can read Night Swimming here, and Hyperbole and a Half here! Obviously I am a bit behind and have slowed waaaaay down on reviewing…I’m hoping to get caught up eventually. I might do a mini-review post of several recent books…we shall see!

Currently Reading:

Because when you’re in a bit of a reading slump, you (obviously) start multiple books in a effort to see what speaks to your inner bookworm (like a muse, but for readers, courtesy of my friend Anne). Also you read self-improvement books because my life is going to be a ROLLERCOASTER for the next several months and I want to swim, not just tread water.

  

How about you? Was August a good reading month for you? What’s on your radar for September?

Follow me on social media, and be sure to subscribe!

 

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Aug 31

Down the TBR Hole #22

Books/Writing 2

down the tbr hole

Time to wield the axe again – I’m mercilessly culling my TBR list on GoodReads with the amazing Down the TBR Hole meme by Lia at Lost in a Story (who has, somehow, already made it completely through his own TBR)!

Most of you probably know this feeling. Your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well, that’s going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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It’s a little past Monday (my usual day for DtTH), but better late than never! So here we go. When I started this series of posts, I had 604 books on my TBR list. As of today, I have…652. It keeps going up! Eeeeek!  As usual covers link to GoodReads. 🙂

Title/Author: And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily #1), by Tasha Alexander

Date Added: May 26, 2015

Thoughts: Historical, looks well researched, and a mystery. Yes please! Now how about a clone of me that can just read all day every day…

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: Point of Honor, by Madeleine E. Robins

Date Added: May 26, 2015

Thoughts: Eh, what? Where did this come from?

Judgment: Go.

Title/Author: The Summer Queen, by Elizabeth Chadwick

Date Added: May 26, 2015

Thoughts: This is yet another author I’ve long wanted to try but still haven’t gotten around to! Shame on me.

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: The Constant Princess (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels #6), by Philippa Gregory

Date Added: May 26, 2015

Thoughts: Oops? I haven’t read any of this series and while I do mean to read another of Gregory’s books at some point, I wouldn’t start with this one.

Judgment: Go.

Title/Author: Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind, by Ann B. Ross

Date Added: May 26, 2015

Thoughts: This is another one of those…where did this come from??

Judgment: Go.

There were 9 books on PTSD that I had on the list at this point, that I moved to their own list, because I was keeping them as a reference more than anything else at the moment…not going through them all here, but that dropped my number some more!

Title/Author: The Buried Giant, by Kazoo Ishiguro

Date Added: June 5, 2015

Thoughts: Interesting enough concept, but based on reviews I don’t think I would make it through the entire book.

Judgment: Go.

Title/Author: Pardonable Lies (Maisie Dobbs #3), by Jacqueline Winspear

Date Added: June 1, 2015

Thoughts: I really suck at reading sequels…and this one is even on my actual shelf!

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: Redwall (Redwall #1), by Brian Jacques

Date Added: June 5, 2015

Thoughts: I have no idea how I didn’t read this series when I was younger, but I simply MUST.

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: Wildwood (Wildwood #1), by Colin Meloy

Date Added: June 5, 2015

Thoughts: This still intrigues me to no end, and I love kids’ books!

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: All Dogs Go to Kevin, by Jessica Vogelsang

Date Added: June 9, 2015

Thoughts: Because I love dogs, and we all need a good dog story now and then.

Judgment: Keep.

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Well, with the additional sorting of the PTSD books this week, I went from 652 books to 639. AWESOME SAUCE. Phew! That felt good. Until next week!

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Aug 28

Sunday Post #3

Books/Writing 6

Linking up with Kimberly over on Caffeinated Book Reviewer today! Shhhh…we’re going to pretend this post went up yesterday, instead of early this morning. 😉

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This Week:

The pace was slightly slower. It made me VERY happy. The coming week should be even better. I finished THREE books! Do you know how long it’s been since that happened? I don’t even know, so it’s been forever.

One of said books was A.G. Howard’s RoseBlood (as the picture above shows – the text was in a deep red, very unusual). Which I thoroughly enjoyed purely FOR it’s gothic un-realism (what many people complained about in reviews), haha. More on it in its own post.

You see how blurry that photo is? Well, it’s due to my hands shaking from HUGE EXCITEMENT of being chosen for an ARC of Katherine Arden’s upcoming second book!!!! I got an e-mail out of the blue from the publicist and nearly had a full-on heart attack from joy. I loved her debut in January, The Bear and the Nightingale, and CAN NOT wait to sink headfirst into this one.

Next Week:

Down the TBR Hole #22
Scythe (YA review, moved from last week)
Silver Stars (YA review)

That’s it for me for now, everyone! Hope you have a fantastic week!

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Aug 26

Hyperbole and a Half Review

Book Reviews 1

Hyperbole and a Half ReviewHyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
Published by Touchstone on October 29th 2013
Genres: Graphic Novel
Pages: 371
Goodreads

This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative--like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it--but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book:

PicturesWordsStories about things that happened to meStories about things that happened to other people because of meEight billion dollars*Stories about dogsThe secret to eternal happiness*

*These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!

Someone gifted me this book in APRIL! I read it almost immediately, but between having ALL sorts of feelings about it and the move, I never put up a review. Obviously it’s been hugely popular (131,295 ratings on GoodReads!), but it just wasn’t on my radar due to my general dismissal of graphic novels. Then I read Marissa Meyer’s Wires and Nerve in January (also never reviewed) and became OBSESSED with them! I still have only read a handful but I have SO MANY on my list now. But I digress. Presenting my long overdue Hyperbole and a Half review!

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Hyperbole and a Half is hilarious and immensely relatable. IMMENSELY. Allie is clearly a nerdy, bookish, animal-loving introvert, and so many times I felt like the book was ABOUT me. Sidenote: I had no idea this was where the phrase “ALL THE THINGS” originated, despite it being one of my favorites! I laughed until tears ran down my face, and then a little bit later I actually cried, because I couldn’t believe someone else actually felt the way I had the last year or so. I took pictures of the pages to send to my best friend, because I hadn’t been able to explain to anyone how I felt, and this book had just done it.

Just wanting to stop existing. Just wanting to disappear. Not permanently, really, at least not in my mind.

How did she articulate that so well? I could have written that myself if I could have just figured out how. She goes on to briefly mention that she discovered she was not the only one who felt this way, that while not a healthy state of mind, it did not make her weird or an outcast, even if it felt like that. She obtained help for her depression and went on to feel like her usual self again, able to enjoy her relationships and her dogs. She doesn’t dwell on it, and the book moves along to happier, more hilarious scenes…but this is what really stuck out to me and earned this book a permanent place on my shelf and will have me recommending it to every introvert kindred spirit, ever.

Allie Brosh ahas been disappointingly silent in the past couple of years, with nothing else released that I could find. But, as a fellow introvert, I get it. I do hope she comes back, but she deserves her privacy for her own mental health and her life. 🙂 In the meantime, you can read through all her old comics here, and she her most recent media interview seems to be this YouTube video from Will Wheaton (wait, what? He’s not just a Big Bang Theory construct??).

 

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