Publisher: HarperCollins

Book Review: Hi, Anxiety: Life With a Bad Case of Nerves by Kat Kinsman

Posted November 3, 2017 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 1 Comment

ISBN: 9780062369703
Book Review: Hi, Anxiety: Life With a Bad Case of Nerves by Kat KinsmanHi, Anxiety by Kat Kinsman
Published by HarperCollins on November 15th 2016
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs, Medical, Mental Health, Social Science, Women's Studies
Pages: 240
Format: ebook
Source: bought
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five-stars

Joining the ranks of such acclaimed accounts as Manic, Brain on Fire, and Monkey Mind, a deeply personal, funny, and sometimes painful look at anxiety and its impact from writer and commentator Kat Kinsman.

Feeling anxious? Can’t sleep because your brain won’t stop recycling thoughts? Unable to make a decision because you're too afraid you’ll make the wrong one? You’re not alone.

In Hi, Anxiety, beloved food writer, editor, and commentator Kat Kinsman expands on the high profile pieces she wrote for CNN.com about depression, and its wicked cousin, anxiety. Taking us back to her adolescence, when she was diagnosed with depression at fourteen, Kat speaks eloquently with pathos and humor about her skin picking, hand flapping, “nervousness” that made her the recipient of many a harsh taunt. With her mother also gripped by depression and health issues throughout her life, Kat came to live in a constant state of unease—that she would fail, that she would never find love . . . that she would end up just like her mother.

Now, as a successful media personality, Kat still battles anxiety every day. That anxiety manifests in strange, and deeply personal ways. But as she found when she started to write about her struggles, Kat is not alone in feeling like the simple act of leaving the house, or getting a haircut can be crippling. And though periodic medication, counseling, a successful career and a happy marriage have brought her relief, the illness, because that is what anxiety is, remains.

Exploring how millions are affected anxiety, Hi, Anxiety is a clarion call for everyone—but especially women—struggling with this condition. Though she is a strong advocate for seeking medical intervention, Kinsman implores those suffering to come out of the shadows—to talk about their battle openly and honestly. With humor, bravery, and writing that brings bestsellers like Laurie Notaro and Jenny Lawson to mind, Hi, Anxiety tackles a difficult subject with amazing grace.

I too have Anxiety. Mine comes with my Bipolar, but I still have the same crippling sensations of fear. I wasn’t always an anxious person. I can in face remember life before I had this crippling anxiety and wonder what I did to bring it on but alas today I have it, and I must figure out a way to live with it. Which is why I love books where OTHER people write about how they deal with their anxiety. It makes me feel less alone, and sometimes I will glean something new to try.

What I Liked

I loved how open and honest  Kat Kinsman is about her anxiety. I mean I am open about the fact that I HAVE anxiety, but it is not often that I will go into detail about it with just anyone. Most of the time I reserve the nitty-gritty details for my mom or close friends. But in Hi! Anxiety Kat Kinsman gives us an intimate look into her anxiety.  She goes into detail so that we can see excakly what it is like living with this illness.

I also like how she tells the truth about Effexor. I am one of the people that Effexor works for. It pulled me back from the dark abyss of depression and allowed me to live my life, BUT if I miss a dose a few hours later, I get sick of a  bitch as withdrawal symptoms set in. I have people tell me that it is all in my head that THEY don’t get sick and at times I have felt that maybe it is just me. Kat Kinsman tells it like it is for many of us if we are late taking a dose or if we try and go off of it. I admire her for going cold turkey. I was reading, and I was like OMG YOU ARE DOING THIS WITHOUT STEPPING DOWN?!  And you know what she was honest that she was sick for WEEKS after she quit. She explains why she did not see a DR first and I can’t fault her for that, but still, i was like holy fuck. She even tells us that it was two YEARS before the brain zaps stopped. Damn, i guess I am stuck on this for life cause I don’t have that kind of courage. Heh

My friends like to joke that I am a “modern-day shut-in” and at times I felt really bad an about it but this book made me realize that I am not alone and that agoraphobia is a very real thing that people live with. It made me feel less isolated, and that is the point of Kat Kinsman sharing such stuff in the book for the people who CANT speak up.

In the end, she admits that she is “privileged as hell” with her illness and I realized that I too was privileged. I have access to great insurance; I can work from the comfort of my apartment. I am manged to snag a great apartment that has everything or almost everything I need or want on the same block. I can be open about my anxiety with my friends. My friends get me when I tell them I am not in a going out mood.  I have a FANTASTIC Dr., And the list goes on. I will admit there are days I wish I were the kind of person that liked to go out of a one-mile radius but I am not. I am lucky in that I don’t have to drive anywhere as we have buses here. I do feel for people who have agoraphobia and who do not have this kind of choice, and they are indeed stuck in their house.

 

 

What I Did Not Like

There is nothing about the BOOK that I did not like, but I wanted to add something about how I hate that most people who live with crippling anxiety do not have the resources to live life as they choose. They have to go to work in a place that gives them even more anxiety. They cant be open with it or worse they live in a place where they cant get treatment for it.

For example, I take a million milligrams of Neurontin for anxiety. Kidding I only take 900 three times a day. cough here in Cleveland I can get my pills easily. Hell, I don’t even have to leave my apartment building as the pharmacy mails them to me. Life here is pretty good I must admit. Then I visited my mom at her house in South Eastern Ky, and I find out you gotta take a drug test, AND you have to leave your home to go pick up the pills and sign a paper and blah blah blah. I mean can u imagine how hard that would be for someone like me who hates leaving my apartment which is afraid to drive ( there is no public transportation in SouthEastern Ky) who hates dealing with humanity in general? Seriously it is a pain in you know what. I hate that the way I live is the way the most privileged of us with mental illness live. I wish that everyone could have access to fanatic dr and pharmacies who will mail their meds and that everything they needed was within a one-mile radius. But they don’t.  And that makes me sad.

 

I feel that Hi! Anxiety by Kat Kinsman is a book that is important in the cannon of dealing with anxiety and mental illness. There are not enough books on the topic of severe anxiety in my opinion. This book tells it like it is and if everyone understood what it is REALLY like living with anxiety then maybe, just maybe help can be found.

five-stars

Dumplin’ (Dumplin’, #1) by Julie Murphy

Posted January 12, 2016 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ISBN: 9780062327208
Dumplin’ (Dumplin’, #1) by Julie MurphyDumplin' by Julie Murphy
Published by HarperCollins on September 15th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Social Issues, Adolescence, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings
Pages: 384
Goodreads

For fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell comes this powerful novel with the most fearless heroine—self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson—from Julie Murphy, the acclaimed author of Side Effects May Vary. With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.
Dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . .  until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.  
Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

my review

OMG Y’ALL THIS BOOK! I had heard about all the hype surrounding this book so I requested it from the library and was able to get ahold of it early. First of all, this is a book I wish I had read 10 years earlier. It would have greatly boosted my self-esteem and maybe saved me some heartache along the way.

This book is about a fat Girl named Dumplin. At first, I was terrified to read it because how would she be portrayed but OMG the author showed how it was to be a fat “pretty” girl EXACTLY. I could so relate to Dumplin.  I myself am a fat girl. People are all like you are beautiful but you need to lose weight. When I was in college I got accepted into an elite sorority and felt that I HAD to slim down to fit my image. I also had a guy like Bo interested in me and I had, all the same, insecurities that Dumplin’ had. But unlike Dumplin’, I went on diets to try and slim down and because of my insecurities did things that I wish I had not done.

This is a book that shows a fat girl accepting herself and she enters a beauty pageant and refuses to slim down. Her feelings mirrored exactly what I felt when I got into my sorority. I wish I had the guts to say you know what I am FAT fuck society. I did not. I felt the need to go on crazy diets and workout two hours a day to fit into the role I was expected to play.

The way she reacted to Bo. OMG, I am shipping them so hard. I hope that she has the guts to not make the same mistakes I did. Reading the book I was reminded of the guy that was interested in me and yes people made comments.  The way she reacts to his touch I was like I DID THAT TOO!! She recoils when he touches a fat part of her and wished that she did not feel that she had to hide her fat. She is afraid of what people will say and from experience I KNOW people will make comments so I could totally relate to her. I wanted to step into the book and be like listen, fuck what other people say and just go for it.

This is a book that NEEDS to be read. It has an important message for anyone struggling with weight.

final verdict

i loved it

Book Review: Go Set a Watchman (To Kill a Mockingbird) by Harper Lee

Posted October 1, 2015 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ISBN: 0062409859
Book Review: Go Set a Watchman (To Kill a Mockingbird) by Harper LeeGo Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Published by HarperCollins on July 14th 2015
Pages: 278
Format: hardcover
Source: library
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three-stars

From Harper Lee comes a landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird.
Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch--"Scout"--returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise's homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in a painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past--a journey that can be guided only by one's conscience.
Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humor and effortless precision--a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird, but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context and new meaning to an American classic.

my review

I really wanted to like this book. I mean the author wrote a classic and all of her works should be good right? I know some say it is good, but for me it lacked depth. I felt that there was no meat to the story. Like there was very little action and character development. I can see why it wasn’t published before and it is a crude reminder to tell my friend to burn all my writing when I die. Some of what I write is complete shit and I never want them to see the light of day.

As for the racism thing. I can see both sides. I am from the south. I was born and raised in Central Appalachia. I like to think of myself as liberated from my views that I grew up with but deep down inside it is still there. This was evident I couldn’t understand why Scout made such a big deal out of her father and boyfriend..(THAT DUDE WAS HER BOYFRIEND RIGHT?!?) went to that meeting. I mean I was completely on her father side. You go to see what people are up to. I completely failed to understand why going and sitting in a meeting sparked such anguish in Scout.

Then I thought about it and after a week, I began to finally GET it. If you sit in a meeting and do nothing then you are in a way supporting it and that makes you involved in it. I was glad that I could see that point. But deep inside me I am still like, but it is no big deal.

Maybe that is why I did not enjoy this book. Maybe I felt as if this book was airing the souths’ dirty laundry so to speak.  It is always hard when you are confronted with your deepest beliefs and find out that you are maybe a secret racist. This made me wonder if we can ever become unchained by where we grew up. Or are we forever chained by the beliefs that we were taught in our formative years? This would make a good discussion. I have no answers and I doubt anyone does. I can tell you that the south has not changed much. When that rebel flag conserver sty happened most of my white southern friends were like It is a SYMBOL of southern pride. And that is how I saw it also. Then again I am an upper-middle-class white woman so I have quite a few privileges. It is hard for me to unpack them. In my head, I can see it booth ways. In my heart, I subscribe to the southern belive. My friends from all over say that I am southern to my core and I think this book proves it.

I want to give this book 5 stars but deep in my heart I am like eh.  Then again this book exposed some things that I really did not want to confront. Plus I think the author needs a better editor so three stars it is.

three-stars

Book Review: Geek Girls Unite: How Fangirls, Bookworms, Indie Chicks, and Other Misfits Are Taking Over the World by Leslie Simon

Posted August 14, 2015 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ISBN: 9780062002730
Geek Girls Unite by Leslie Simon
Published by HarperCollins on October 4th 2011
Genres: Social Science, Popular Culture, Women's Studies
Pages: 196
Format: ebook
Source: Scribed
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three-stars

What do Amy Poehler, Bjork, Felicia Day, Martha Stewart, Miranda July, and Zooey Deschanel have in common? They’re just a few of the amazing women proving that “geek” is no longer a four-letter word.
In recent years, male geeks have taken the world by storm. But what about their female counterparts? After all, fangirls are just like fanboys—they put on their Imperial Stormtrooper Lycra pants one leg at a time.
Geek Girls Unite is a call to arms for every girl who has ever obsessed over music, comics, film, comedy, books, crafts, fashion, or anything else under the Death Star. Music geek girl Leslie Simon offers an overview of the geek elite by covering groundbreaking women, hall-of-famers, ultimate love matches, and potential frenemies, along with her top picks for playlists, books, movies, and websites. This smart and hilarious tour through girl geekdom is a must-have for any woman who has ever wondered where her sassy rebel sisters have been hiding.

my review

I am a hardcore geek. play games, I read fantasy and sci-fi. I watch firefly and star trek and all those geeky shows. I read comics and I know all of Joss Whedon’s work by heart. So when I saw this book on scribed I was wondering how the author would describe us, feel girls.

She brings up a good point that women in the geeky circles face a lot of discrimination. WE have all heard the stories of fat shaming at cons and all of that. I wish it wasn’t true but alas it is. When people find out that I am a hardcore gamer they usually don’t know what to say. I think that this is an important issue to bring up and discuss.

I felt that this part of the book was well written. I agreed with the hardcore geeks and the book geeks. I, however, had a hard time believing that women who are good at decorating are geeks but maybe that’s me discriminating. I need to examine this in myself.

The book is mainly written for people who are not geeks so to me all of this was stuff I already knew so I was kinda bored reading this. If you are not a geek and you are curious to the inside world of the geeks then this book is for you.

three-stars

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair

Posted March 26, 2012 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

A book review of Tolstoy and the purple chair

After her sister died of cancer the author decides to read a book a day for a year. She wrote reviews on her blog Read All Day for every book that she read. Prior to this she was trying to cram as much into her day as possible to escape her grief. Then one day she realized that to come to terms wit her grief she needed to slow down to heal.
Sankovitch and her sister shared a love of books. So it made sense that the author selected books as a way to figure out how to come to terms with her grief. And she did come to terms with it. I felt this was a moving and compelling read about that process.
I like many other people I am sure wondered how she would read a book a day and keep up with the fluctuations of daily life. She writes about this. About how it took her a few days to get in the rhythm of things. The most important thing she does is to make reading a priority. Many of us feel that we make reading a priority but do we really? In her book she explains how she always has a book with her and anytime she finds herself in a position to read she does. Waiting in line, waiting for an event or whatever she makes time for reading
In her book she speaks of the healing power of books. How reading such books taught her to live again. This is beautifully written and and can help other people attempting to learn to live with grief.

five-stars

Spark- A Book Review

Posted March 15, 2012 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

a book review of SPARK
I must admit I thought that this book was going to be about how to become more creative. Instead it is based off the radio show 360 and it talks about how famous people get their creative juice flowing.
Even though it was not exactly about what I thought I still found it an enjoyable read. I was surprised at what some of the artist went through to get creative. It seems it comes from living outside of the norm. When you experience life altering events then it stirs up the creative juices.
Reading this allowed me to get a glimpse into what creativity is in the real sense and how people use what could have been a bad experience into a creative outlet. This book would be recommended to people who want to know more about the creative process.

three-half-stars