Tag Archives: anxiety

Zine Review: Do What You Want

Published April 2017, edited and curated by Leah Pritchard and Ruby Tandoh.

35026501Cover blurb: Do what You Want is a one-off magazine, curated and edited by food writer Ruby Tandoh and her partner Leah Pritchard. Focusing on mental health and illness, it features an interview with actress Mara Wilson; writing from New York Magazine’s advice columnist Heather Havrilesky (Ask Polly); recipes from food writers Diana Henry, Meera Sodha and Bee Wilson; and an exclusive Q&A with Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara.

With essays, comics and poems by contributors from all walks of life, Do What You Want shows that mental wellbeing is for everyone. This is a project in aid of mental health charities and not-for-profit organisations. All profits will be split between Mind, Beat, Centre of Mental Health and more.

My Review: As soon as I’d heard about this zine, I knew I needed to order a copy! I’ve love Ruby Tandoh. So to hear she was curating a zine about mental health with her girlfriend Leah (now fiancees – congrats you guys omg), I was over the moon. As a Tegan and Sara obsessive, my excitement was undoubtedly furthered by the announcement that the zine would include an interview with Sara Quin!

Do What You Want covers a huge variety of mental health issues, from eating disorders to anxiety, depression and the intersectionality of mental health with aspects of identity such as being queer. I adored how broad this zine was, as it’s so eye-opening to read accounts from a variety of people from different backgrounds. I’m sure that many people who read this will find something to relate to, as well as come away from it having learned something valuable. It’s rare to see so many diverse, honest stories in one place like this; that’s what makes the zine so special.

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Every contribution is presented absolutely beautifully, whether it’s a personal story, report on statistics and services or a recipe. Presentation ranges from vibrant comics and portraits, to gorgeous illustrations accompanying heartfelt essays, interviews and first person accounts. I took my time reading this to admire all of the work that’s gone into making this book so visually exciting. The uplifting, wonderful artwork perfectly accompanies some incredibly hard-hitting topics.

I started reading Do What You Want during exam season, and that proved it to be the perfect read to dip in and out of. This zine is a wonderful read whether you’re leafing through a passage or two a night, or reading the entire thing in a day.

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As I was about halfway through, I did notice there were significantly more female contributors than male ones. It is fantastic to see so many talented female artists and writers in one place. However, I did want to see more representation of men’s experiences of mental health, after reading around the topic previously, and being aware of some shocking statistics. This is still a teeny tiny problem for me with the zine, but it definitely was addressed really well through a couple of contributions such as George Almond’s portrayal of toxic masculinity in a moving account of his family.

Overall, I am so, so impressed with Do What You Want; it’s the kind of book you want to shout about from the rooftops and demand everyone reads. not only is it an amazing resource on mental health information; it’s also a beautiful collection of art and writing, and has raised a lot of money for various charities. This is definitely up there in one of my favourite reads of all time. After selling out its initial 4000 prints, the zine is going into a reprint, so you can still order a physical copy now, or get the ebook if you’d like it sooner!

My Rating:

four and a half

 

Book Review: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Published 4th June 2015 by Penguin Random House.

23305614Goodreads Synopsis: An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

My Review: I recognised Kinsella’s name on the email I’d received about this – my first thought was I’ll pass on this; her books aren’t my thing. But, out of curiosity, I read on in the email to see her latest was to be a YA novel – and not only that, but one about a girl coping with social anxiety. Needless to say, I couldn’t have been more eager to read it!

Finding Audrey is told brilliantly through the perspective of the main character, who is suffering from depressive episodes and social anxiety disorder. She feels trapped in her house, behind her sunglasses: And everything starts to take a different turn when she meets her brother’s friend Linus and her therapist asks her to start a film project.

I connected with Audrey straight away. She’s a very relatable and believable protagonist. There’s an event that caused her severe anxiety, and it’s suggested that there was some harsh bullying – though nothing is fully revealed. That irked me slightly at first, though I grew to get along with that – because (this might sound weird) but the reader can kind of apply their own experience to it.

Her relationship with Linus that evolves from a few awkward meetings fast became one of my favourite love stories of this year. I’m always very cynical of love interests (Just me being fussy) but Linus was so likeable and I loved the chemistry he had with Audrey – not to mention his encouragement for her.

Audrey’s family is hilarious and I loved them form the first chapter – in which her mum goes a little crazy and tries to throw her gamer brother’s PC out of the window. Audrey’s family’s antics were just so funny – I rarely laugh out loud at books but this book made me, on multiple occasions.

Overall, Finding Audrey was a really stunning YA début – I would love to read more YA fiction from Kinsella in the future! The characters were so well developed and despite the book only being just under 300 pages, I really felt like I knew all of them by the end. (Did I mention that I stayed up until two in the morning to finish this? Yep, that happened. Nope, I have never done that with a book before. I was engrossed.) Highly recommended, if you’re looking for a heart-warming tale; a perfect blend of humour and hope.

My Rating:

four and a half

I received a copy of Finding Audrey from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

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