Thursday, March 08, 2012

Booknote: Agorafabulous

I am posting my review of the book from my GoodReads page because I do think the book is worth reading and sharing. Though I am not a big fan of the memoir genre, I do think the book is funny at times as well as moving in some parts. I think anyone, especially women, who suffers from mental health issues including anxiety and panic attacks may find someone to relate to in Ms. Benincasa. I will add that I would like to see Ms. Benincasa performing sometime down the road.

To keep the FTC happy, I am disclosing that I won a copy of the book as a prize in a giveaway over at the Stiletto Storytime blog. And on Valentine's Day nonetheless.

The review:

Agorafabulous!: Dispatches from My BedroomAgorafabulous!: Dispatches from My Bedroom by Sara Benincasa

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sara Benincasa tells the story of how she struggled with and learned to cope and overcome her mental health issues. Ms. Benincasa suffers from anxiety disorder, including very aggressive panic attacks that immobilized her. At times, she could not even leave her house due to her fears. There are few good messages in this book.

1. The power of humor. Humor helped her cope and grow. Humor also led her to find her true path as a comedian and writer.

2. The power of persistence. Hard as it was for her, she did persevere.

3. The power of supportive family and friends. I don't think this can be said enough.

4. Healing and rehabilitation do take time. You may fall. You get back up again.

Ms. Benincasa writes with humor and gentleness. There are some moments when you will smile and laugh. There may be a moment or two when you will grimace. There may be some awkward moments as well. That is all ok as those moments are all part of the big picture, so to speak. Readers will smile, and they will also be very moved at times. I was moved at times. The chapter on her days of teaching school in Texas, dealing with Billy's "problem" was funny but also very moving when you look at how she did handle it, which, I will say, as a former teacher myself, was probably about the best way to deal with it. Ms. Benincasa may be a better teacher than she thinks.

The book is pretty easy to read. Though I did find a couple of passages a bit too long, overall, the book makes a good reading experience. If you like memoirs, you will probably like this. If you have an interest in mental health issues, especially as they affect women, you probably want to read this book. And even though the book is written for an adult audience, I would venture to say that older, mature teens might benefit from reading as well as she deals with and discusses issues that affect teens as well.

(The note to keep the FTC, a.k.a. "The Man," happy: I got the copy of the book as prize from a book away at the Stiletto Storytime blog).

View all my reviews

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