Sunday, May 3, 2020

Book Review: Advice I Ignored

If you know me at all, or have been a reader for awhile, you know that I have depression. I have a lot of other things, but depression is pretty awful. For the longest time I really thought that this all started after I had Olivia and began as post-partum depression that just never really got better and morphed over time. Being in therapy the last three years has taught me that definitely isn't how it happened but rather, I've had this for a major portion of my life, certainly going back to my teen years. I think if I knew that I had depression way back then, or anyone ever thought to really ask me some questions, maybe the adult portion of my life would have gone in a drastically different direction.

We'll certainly never know, but if you are a parent of a teenage (or tween) child(ren), this would be maybe a helpful read for not just your teen but you as well.

Advice I Ignored - Ruby Walker

When Ruby Walker was fifteen, she went from a numb, silent, miserable high school dropout to a joyous loudmouth in one year flat. Advice I Ignored answers the question everyone's been asking her since: What happened? In ten illustrated chapters, you'll learn how to:

get out from under self-hatred

gain a sense of free will

deal with failure without falling apart

create your way through an existential crisis

use exercise to beg your brain for endorphins

have an identity beyond "sad"

and more!

Full of embarrassing stories, honest advice, and fierce hope, Advice I Ignored is a self-help book for people who hate help. And themselves.

While this is certainly a non-fiction book, it certainly can't be labeled as long and boring, over doing it on the dry reporting of what you really should have done in life. Instead, this is a young woman reflecting on her youth and realizing that while not all of the uninvited advice over the years was valuable, some of it turned out to be pretty useful once she decided to apply it.

I won't tell you that reading this is going to suddenly be the light bulb that lights the dark room you're living in. It's like that meme that is like, "When someone tells you to cheer up and I say, 'wow, Karen- thanks, I never tried that.'", while parts of this book were solid things to stop and think about, there are other parts that felt like that annoying yoga instructor telling you if you just sat in the sun longer and appreciated birds you'd feel better.

I really liked how she really focuses on self esteem and how it's OK to take up space. It's not OK to put others down, certainly, but that same thing needs to apply to ourselves. Whether we do it as a joke or not, we can't put ourselves down. Her example of whether she would say it to her best friend or not was a pretty easy way to teach this concept to middle school and high school children. If she wouldn't, she absolutely couldn't say it to or about herself. We can tell each other we have to love ourselves all day but nobody really tells you how. Well it starts with not talking about yourself like garbage. Even if you're alone. Even if it is a joke. It isn't even OK to be cruel in the name of honesty.

Throughout the book we learn a lot about the author and some of her struggles, and there is a section about her assault and it struck me then that I really related to a lot of it and have almost an identical story to tell and I know that as an adult, a lot of my intimacy issues stem from that. Not just that, but insecurities of people noticing me. Complimenting me, asking me out, everything always makes me feel like something else is coming and that I couldn't just earn a compliment. A compliment was a borrowed gift, kind of.

Overall? I would give this a solid 3 stars. It was pretty interesting, definitely a fast read. It has illustrations from the author that connect with her stories and information. I think the only downside for me was the lecture on exercise. Even though the author talked about her own health related obstacles, it almost feels like she didn't recognize that some people can't exercise to the level of having endorphins released if they still want to move the next day at all. I appreciate the benefits of exercise and I know in another life time I would have been waving that flag, but I also know if one more person tells me to exercise they will be the reason I go to jail.

I really do think this would be an excellent book to give to a teenager who may be experiencing depression, or just a difficult time in general. I do think it is a pertinent read for parents because the book does detail some behaviors that seem funny or harmless but are really detrimental for a child/teen's mental health and it might be the time to really check in with them.

Thank you to the author and PR By the Book for having me on this tour and providing a copy for review.
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