Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski

Title: If You Feel Too Much
Author: Jamie Tworkowski
Publisher: Tarcher
Publish Date: May 26th, 2015
Rating:

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. If You Feel Too Much is an important book from one of this generation’s most important voices.

If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski is a collection of short essays detailing Jamie's life, travels, projects and beliefs. It is Jamie's personal story, but feels very much like it could belong to anyone. Every person living their life with a question or a worry or a hint (or more) of sadness, of loneliness. The story told in If You Feel Too Much is Jamie's, but it has the power to touch, to connect to so many. To give hope, to spread love. It has the power to make a reader believe it's okay to ask questions, without trying to give them answers. IYFTM is just a man's thoughts and experiences, put to paper. Thoughts and experiences with the power to spread a message of love to anyone willing to listen.

Jamie has a gift for conveying his feelings about a situation, without airing all of his dirty laundry. He can make you sympathetic to an event in his life, without sharing too much. It's a gift that leaves you wondering "what" at times, but his stories are always relatable. His words don't need to be gossipy to engage the reader, and it was something I deeply appreciated about his writing.

It's an easy thing to slip from trying to use one's religious beliefs to impart hope, to coming off as self-righteous. In another writer's hands the stories within If You Feel Too Much could have become tedious or preachy, but Jamie Tworkowski treats God as a thing of beauty, not a thing of judgment or hate. His religious beliefs are solidly sold as his religious beliefs, not meant to be forced upon the reader, but taken as part of his view of the world. I enjoyed Jamie's candidness about his beliefs and would imagine that most readers, despite their own beliefs, can look upon Jamie's words and see the message in them. Hope and love.

Maybe you agree with Jamie's ideas and maybe you don't, but there's something inspirational that comes from being privy to someone else's thoughts. I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but whenever I do I'm always inspired in some way. Whether it's because I agree with them or passionately disagree, there's something to learn from everyone, and that is a huge part of Jamie's message. If you are a fan of non-fiction or, perhaps, need a little inspiration, a little hope, in your life, If You Feel Too Much is a journey through one man's life, and a sign that love and hope exist, if you'll allow yourself to see it.

For more about If You Feel too Much check out these sites!

AmazonB&NTWLOHAGoodreads


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