Wednesday, July 8, 2015

If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski

If You Feel Too Much: Thoughts on Things Found and Lost and Hoped For   If You Feel Too Much is a collection of writings by Jamie Tworkowski. The blurb on the back of the book talks about a story Tworkowski wrote called To Write Love on Her Arms about helping a friend battling drug addiction and other issues. That story led to Tworkowski founding a non-profit organization called To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), an organization I had never heard of until I picked up this book. Not entirely sure what the organization does other than generally promoting hope and love and encouraging people struggling with addiction, depression, suicide, and self-injury to get help. In any case, it was that story that drew me to this book.

It is difficult to explain exactly what this book is, but I'll give it a shot. It is a non-fiction collection of essays, many of which (I think) began as blog posts. Some are really personal and seem like they could have been journal entries. Though the book is divided into chronological sections, I wouldn't call it a memoir. It is author writing about an isolated event or something/someone he saw/spoke to/ heard and then writing about how he felt about it. Ultimately all of that connects to TWLOHA's general message about the importance of mental health, connection to other people, and all the rest. It isn't a religious book though the author talks about God in a "there is something bigger than us out there" kind of way. I found this book on a display table dedicated to recent releases by Penguin at my local B&N. I wonder where it would be shelved normally. In the religious inspiration section? Self-help and addiction?

Books like always leave me a little bit hopeful and a little bit sad. Hopeful in that it is an encouragement to keep trying and keep hoping in the face of life’s disappointments and depressions, and further that there are others going through the same thing. But also sad because it is a reminder of just how hard life is.

A Few Quotes That I Love:

For the next five days, she is ours to love. (pg. 19)

From the story that led to the organization (TWLOHA)…when a girl is rejected by a rehab clinic because she is currently high, Tworkowski and friends stay with her for the next five days until she is clean enough to go to rehab. “She is ours to love” is such a beautiful and selfless way to characterize the situation, as if it were a gift to spend five days watching and making sure the girl didn’t do any more drugs or other harm to herself, like she was doing them a favor. People often say "happy to help." I often say that. This sentence sounds like Tworkowski and friends really were.

...he takes a knee on the Brooklyn Bridge, asks her for forever. (pg. 47)

Don't have to explain this one.

He would show her patience and kindness, wanted her to feel seen and known, appreciated and beautiful. His dream became to love her, and to be loved by her. (pg. 57)

For the romantic…what a beautiful and kind way to describe love. There is a book I have of everyday women talking about sex and love and the interview that always stood out to me was a woman who said her greatest wish was to be really known. I had never heard it phrased like that before but immediately felt it to be true. This quote reminds of that.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I look forward to your comments. Tell me about the books you're reading.