If You Feel Too Much

Sorry we haven't been posting much lately! Alethea is just on the verge of recovering from a move that started a month ago... finally reaching the late stages of unpacking, and has found the book she started reading four or more weeks ago. Until she finishes, here's Carolyn Gruss from Kid Lit Frenzy covering If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski. Thanks, Carolyn!

If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski

Publication date: 26 May 2015 by Penguin Random House/Tarcher

Category: Young Adult Nonfiction

Keywords: Suicide, Depression, Recovery

Format: Hardcover, enhanced ebook, audiobook

Source: ARC from publisher for review

About the book

In 2006 Jamie Tworkowski wrote a story called “To Write Love on Her Arms” about helping a friend through her struggle with drug addiction, depression, and self-injury. The piece was so hauntingly beautiful that it quickly went viral, giving birth to a non-profit organization of the same name. Nine years later, To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) is an internationally-recognized leader in suicide prevention and a source of hope, encouragement, and resources for people worldwide.

Jamie’s words have been shared hundreds of thousands of times online. They’ve shown up on T-shirts and posters and even tattoos. Now, for the first time, Jamie’s writing is available in the form of a book. If You Feel Too Much is a celebration of hope, wonder, and what it means to be human. From personal stories of struggling on days most people celebrate to offering words of strength and encouragement in moments of loss, the essays in this book invite readers to believe that it’s okay to admit to pain and it's okay to ask for help.

Carolyn's Review

If You Feel Too Much is a lyrical set of short essays, many of which were originally posted as blog posts. The entries are at times insightful and touching, and the honesty of not knowing what to do or how to process what’s going on was both unexpected and impactful. The entries, which read more like eloquent and candid musings than drawn-out essays, focus on different topics, often Tworkowski’s thoughts on current events, holidays, or the growth of To Write Love On Her Arms.

While hope is a common theme throughout the book, the purpose of the entries is not simply to uplift the reader or make them feel better. But I find that the complex narrative of Tworkowski’s life inherently more comforting simply for its virtue of honesty. The acknowledgement of seemingly-mundane pain of living life while struggling with mental illness is at once heartening and all too familiar. The book never feels disingenuous or contrived, and the candidness of the entries is what I found the most appealing and the most hopeful.

While some entries might be slightly too honest for some (for those who are really struggling, there are parts that could be triggering), If You Feel Too Much is a phenomenal book that I know will impact and help many people who are struggling.

About the author

Jamie Tworkowski grew up in the surfing world and later fell in love with music and writing. TWLOHA began as his attempt to tell a story and help a friend in 2006. Today, Jamie spends much of his time on the road, telling the TWLOHA story and encouraging audiences at universities, concerts, and music festivals. He has been interviewed by NBC Nightly NewsCBS Sunday Morning and Rolling Stone magazine. Jamie’s favorite things are his family and friends (especially his new nephews, Landon and Declan), music, surfing, basketball (#TeamKorver), and Dr. Pepper. He drinks iced coffee every morning, even when it’s snowing. Not many people know this, but Jamie is an introvert. His first book, If You Feel Too Much, is now available.

About our guest reviewer

Carolyn Gruss blogs about YA books on Fridays at Kid Lit Frenzy.