MY LIFE IN A NUTSHELL: a powerful, potentially lifechanging novel.

Posted: July 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

Someone once said a good book is meant to make you laugh, cry and think. Now, if I were to judge the book that I am about to review from that point of view, I’d call it one of the greatest books I’ve ever read.

Which is something that I can say about it without these criteria as well. I’m talking about MY LIFE IN A NUTSHELL, a beautiful, heartrending novel by Tanya J. Peterson.

The book tells the story of Brian Cunningham, a 37-year-old man working in the maintenance department of an elementary school, where he meets young Abigail, a 7-year-old little girl with serious attachment issues. Brian has a deep dark secret of his own: his crippling social anxiety. The novel essentially tells the story of how a beautiful friendship blooms between two broken souls.

The most amazing thing about this book is how vivid the characters are. I genuinely was under the impression that I’m inside the mind of a socially anxious man. The book is the type of read that grips one from the very beginning: “I’m an idiot. I must be the dumbest man on the planet […] What kind of an idiot forgets to take a sack lunch to work?”   It’s amazing how up-close and personal the author gets with the character, it’s like she’s writing about a lifelong friend, and it feels heartbreaking, and yet inspiring to read about Brian’s struggle with making it through one day after another.  His friendship with Abigail, another very endearing character, will test both their limits in a number of ways. This is a very powerful story, and Ms. Peterson writes not with the clinical dryness typical of mental health professionals, but with the emotionally engaging confidence of an accomplished novelist. I loved the overall message of the book, which, to me, is that it’s perfectly okay not to “fit in”, as long as you know you’re not alone. I loved the story of the tree that Brian told to little Abigail during their time together, and I cheered each of them on whenever they progressed. The backstory of Abigail, a child too young to witness the horrors of adulthood she’d been put through, will even soften hearts of stone.

If there’s one book that completely changed my perspective on mental conditions, and my outlook on the power of a great friendship, this book is it. It truly has the power to change lives. Whether you are struggling with social anxiety, or you’re a professional dealing with people who are, or you just want a healthy dose of inspiration and positivity, this extraordinary book is for you. A clear summer night’s sky full of stars for this gem of a book! Thank you, Ms. Peterson! Superb read! While I received a copy from the author in exchange for a review, the views expressed herein are entirely my views, and I’m proud to say so.

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