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Melissa Broder always struggled with anxiety. In the fall of 2012, she went through a harrowing cycle of panic attacks and dread that wouldn't abate for months. So she began @sosadtoday, an anonymous Twitter feed that allowed her to express her darkest feelings, and which quickly gained a dedicated following. In So Sad Today, Broder delves deeper into the existential theme Melissa Broder always struggled with anxiety. In the fall of 2012, she went through a harrowing cycle of panic attacks and dread that wouldn't abate for months. So she began @sosadtoday, an anonymous Twitter feed that allowed her to express her darkest feelings, and which quickly gained a dedicated following. In So Sad Today, Broder delves deeper into the existential themes she explores on Twitter, grappling with sex, death, love, low self-esteem, addiction, and the drama of waiting for the universe to text you back. With insights as sharp as her humor, Broder explores—in prose that is both gutsy and beautiful, aggressively colloquial and achingly poetic—questions most of us are afraid to even acknowledge, let alone answer, in order to discover what it really means to be a person in this modern world.


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Melissa Broder always struggled with anxiety. In the fall of 2012, she went through a harrowing cycle of panic attacks and dread that wouldn't abate for months. So she began @sosadtoday, an anonymous Twitter feed that allowed her to express her darkest feelings, and which quickly gained a dedicated following. In So Sad Today, Broder delves deeper into the existential theme Melissa Broder always struggled with anxiety. In the fall of 2012, she went through a harrowing cycle of panic attacks and dread that wouldn't abate for months. So she began @sosadtoday, an anonymous Twitter feed that allowed her to express her darkest feelings, and which quickly gained a dedicated following. In So Sad Today, Broder delves deeper into the existential themes she explores on Twitter, grappling with sex, death, love, low self-esteem, addiction, and the drama of waiting for the universe to text you back. With insights as sharp as her humor, Broder explores—in prose that is both gutsy and beautiful, aggressively colloquial and achingly poetic—questions most of us are afraid to even acknowledge, let alone answer, in order to discover what it really means to be a person in this modern world.

30 review for So Sad Today: Personal Essays

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nat

    This book started out with something that’s been on my mind for months now, and I was so relieved to see someone else share the same belief: “Bringing a child into the world without its consent seems unethical.” While reading this book I discovered that there's simply no subject that Broder is afraid to write about, and no shortage of readers who can relate. So sad today? Many are. Melissa Broder is too. How and why did she get to be so sad? And should she stay sad? She asks herself these questions This book started out with something that’s been on my mind for months now, and I was so relieved to see someone else share the same belief: “Bringing a child into the world without its consent seems unethical.” While reading this book I discovered that there's simply no subject that Broder is afraid to write about, and no shortage of readers who can relate. So sad today? Many are. Melissa Broder is too. How and why did she get to be so sad? And should she stay sad? She asks herself these questions over and over here, turning them into a darkly mesmerising and strangely uplifting reading experience through coruscating honesty and a total lack of self-deceit. Favorites quotes from the essays: #1: “How to Never Be Enough.” “An external attribution exists to make you feel shitty. It’s a handy tool, wherein you perceive anything positive that happens to you as a mistake, subjective, and/or never a result of your own goodness. Negative things, alternately, are the objective truth. And they’re always your own fault.” “There aren’t that many ways to find comfort in this world. We must take it where we can get it, even in the darkest, most disgusting places. Nobody asks to be born. No one signs a form that says, You have my permission to make me exist. Babies are born, because parents feel that they themselves are not enough. So, parents, never condemn us for trying to fill our existential holes, when we are but the fruit of your own vain attempts to fill yours. It’s your fault we’re here to deal with the void in the first place.” This essay stayed on my mind for days, especially that first quote I shared. So good. #2: “Love in the Time of Chakras.” “Staying drunk seemed like a very practical solution to me. If you could drink yourself into happiness, why would you stay sad and sober? And if you could drink yourself into ultra-happiness, why would you settle for regular happiness?” #3: “I Want to Be a Whole Person but Really Thin.” “I am an eater who enjoys structured magic. I don’t feel courageous enough to let myself eat whatever I want, because I don’t want to face the wrath of what my mind will do to me after. I have a vested interest in keeping things under control, because when I lose my illusions of control I get very scared. The world is scary enough as it is. Just let me have this way of life. Let me continue to live under these self-imposed systems of diet ice cream, where I can have some of what I enjoy about binge eating—just without my mind destroying me after.” “I am an eater whose mind says no. I am an eater who knows that ultimately you are responsible for yourself, an eater who doesn’t want to take responsibility for herself other than to seek the feeling of safety. I am an eater who is scared to be so honest here, a disordered eater. I am a superficial woman of depth.” Sometimes you read something that just connects everything in your mind. And this was it. #4: “Help Me Not Be a Human Being.” “We’re going to spend the rest of our lives together in my head: a love story.” “I still can’t believe that someone as hot as you has validation issues but I also know that being a very sensitive person on this planet is painful and some of us are built like sieves, or have holes where any external validation just pours right through and we never get full, and I also know it’s ultimately an inside job anyway and no amount of external validation will ever be enough (though damn it can feel good in the moment, and it sort of makes me mad at god, actually, like, okay god, you built me like this so teach me how to validate myself in a way that feels as good as when a boy does it or the Internet does it, because there is always a cost when a boy does it or when the Internet does it): a love story.” #5: “Love Like You Are Trying to Fill an Insatiable Spiritual Hole with Another Person Who Will Suffocate in There.” “What happens to the space that two people occupied together? How can it just disappear? Why can’t it just become something else?” This particular essay was so deeply personal and emotional, I truly felt like I went through so much in such a short time. And I loved it. “When we think of our old lovers, and the people they are with now, we wonder what we did not have. We wonder collectively, as people, what other people have. A collective unconscious is formed, a cloud, and we laze around it and lie to each other. We tell each other we are better than one another, better than whoever he is with now. We tell it to each other, because we are well-meaning people. We tell it to each other in friendship. Our single friends say they are going to be alone for the rest of their lives and we tell them they are crazy. We tell them they are definitely going to find someone. But how do we know? We know nothing.” #6: “Honk If There’s a Committee in Your Head Trying to Kill You.” “The ocean gives me performance anxiety about being at peace. The moon is definitely judging me. Dogs know the truth. Babies see through me. Anything natural, anything pure: judging me.” “There is a large part of me, the committee, that wants to see me dead. If it can’t kill me, it’ll settle for seeing me miserable. It wants me spinning out on what I lack, talking to myself. I don’t know why these forces exist in me that want me to die, I guess I’m just wired that way. But it’s cool that there is this other part of me that must really want to live. I don’t have scientific proof of its existence, and I don’t need it. I’m still alive. So I know it’s there.” #7: “I Took the Internet Addiction Quiz and I Won.” “The Internet has given me the dopamine, attention, amplification, connection, and escape I seek. It has also distracted me, disappointed me, paralyzed me, and catalyzed a false sense of self. The Internet has enhanced my taste for isolation. It has increased my solipsism and made me even more incapable of coping with reality.” “If people never become real, it’s harder for them to disappoint you. That’s why the Internet is good for sad people. You can be with people without having to be with people.” #8: “I Don’t Feel Bad About My Neck.” “I feel bad about my deeper, underlying reasons for judging people with children. I judge them as a defense mechanism, because I am sad about my motivations for not having kids. I am self-centered and dysmorphic with low self-esteem. I am scared I would give birth to my own childhood self-hatred. I am scared I would give birth with my head in the oven.” “I feel bad about my struggle, because it is nothing compared to other people’s struggles and yet it still hurts.” #12: “Hello 911, I Can’t Stop Time.” “I don’t want to be human. I don’t want to age or die. What I want is to be impervious to all of that. And if I can’t defeat time and death, then let me at least be impervious to what other people think of me. I want to be beyond reproach. Let me at least try.” “But it’s a lot easier to rely on a tangible fix than it is to rely on a nebulous spirit, a quiet voice, deep inside yourself. ” #13: “Google Hangout with My Higher Self.” Higher self: it seems like u r scared of containing multitudes, tbh Higher self: like, why does it have to be all or nothing? why r u just str8 up good or str8 up evil? what if u r a v loveable douchebag? what if u r a heavenly asshole? what if u r a destructive beautiful person? Me: idk Me: am i allowed 2 be good and evil at the same time? Higher self: look around, bb. that’s all there is. #14: “The Terror in My Heart Says Hi.” “I’m always scared that every feeling is going to be permanent.” “I hope this shit has a happy ending.” “Everyone thinks I’m going to be okay except me.” #15: “Never Getting Over the Fantasy of You Is Going Okay.” “I think it’s important to never stop believing in magic.” #16: “Keep Your Friends Close but Your Anxiety Closer.” “It’s probably good that I keep pushing myself to leave the house and maintain my social masks of competence, engagement, and comfort. But what if I did tell people exactly what was going on? What if I valued my own peace of mind more than what other people think of me? Would I end up jobless, friendless, and loveless? Would I vanish entirely?” “I think it’s okay to not be grateful for your curses. I think it’s okay to just want your blessings to be blessings.” #17: “I Told You Not to Get the Knish: Thoughts on Open Marriage and Illness.” “Does anyone really know who they are marrying? People change. We do not know if the person we commit to will be the same person in ten years. We do not know who he or she will become. Will you be the same person in ten years: in health, body, money, interests, mental health?” The feelings in this essay were so raw and immediate, it stayed on my mind till the end. #18: “Under the Anxiety Is Sadness but Who Would Go Under There.” “For someone with anxiety, dramatic situations are, in a way, more comfortable than the mundane. In dramatic situations the world rises to meet your anxiety. When there are no dramatic situations available, you turn the mundane into the dramatic.” “I would say to myself, You felt like you were dying yesterday. But you didn’t die. So even though you feel like you are dying today, you probably won’t die. But intellect couldn’t refute the panic attacks.” “It seems weird to me that here we are, alive, not knowing why we are alive, and just going about our business, sort of ignoring that fact. How are we all not looking at each other all the time just like, Yo, what the fuck?” Ultimately, I think I completely fell in love with Melissa Broder's writing. It's honest, mesmerising, and completely genuine. I cannot believe it took me so long to pick this book up. 4.5 stars *Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buying So Sad Today, just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission!* This review and more can be found on my blog.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    I want to have actual sex with this book. I just love it so much. Melissa Broder elevates vulnerability to another level: she writes about her vomit fetish, getting high off of people, her anxiety and depression, and more. This essay collection captures what I appreciate most about creative nonfiction - through exposing her deepest and darkest doubts and dismays with unrelenting self-absorption and style, Broder highlights that it is okay to be human, to be fucked up and to keep on living anyway I want to have actual sex with this book. I just love it so much. Melissa Broder elevates vulnerability to another level: she writes about her vomit fetish, getting high off of people, her anxiety and depression, and more. This essay collection captures what I appreciate most about creative nonfiction - through exposing her deepest and darkest doubts and dismays with unrelenting self-absorption and style, Broder highlights that it is okay to be human, to be fucked up and to keep on living anyway. In the spirit of spilling secrets, a couple of things that make me #sosadtoday: 1) I am completely and unhealthfully obsessed with a man I met on the internet. This man has not messaged me back for a long time. As a feminist, I despise myself for wanting his attention. 2) My trauma has been awful this week. I canceled two hours of work today so I could see my therapist. Despite my decent list of achievements and my almost flawless work ethic, this one instance of asking for help makes me want to vomit. You could call this self-indulgent, vain, even self-obsessed. But I think we should obsess over ourselves sometimes. We live in a world so bent on shaming people for pain, which leads us to cope in unhealthful ways - drugs, unsafe sex, etc. The unfortunate truth that Melissa Broder reveals in So Sad Today: we all experience pain. Sometimes we experience pain because a catastrophe strikes, because of a huge social injustice that makes us want to revolt. Sometimes we experience pain because a guy doesn't text us back. Both are valid. Both are real. Once we recognize our pain and our sadness, we can choose how to cope. Broder does so through writing, through her poetry and her Twitter account. I intend to do the same, to write with honesty and compassion. Just like Broder does with so much blunt sophistication, I want to throw my voice into the fray: to prove that we are not alone in our pain.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kelli

    I need to review this book so I can stop thinking about it. Initially I thought the author was very young but the more I read, the more I think she might be closer to my age. Maybe I'm old, a prude, a stuffy New Englander but to me these essays do not "...reveal so much about what it is to live in this world, right now." -Roxane Gay, as printed on the cover. I understand that we live in a world where everything is fair game for publication on social media. I know the younger generation thinks no I need to review this book so I can stop thinking about it. Initially I thought the author was very young but the more I read, the more I think she might be closer to my age. Maybe I'm old, a prude, a stuffy New Englander but to me these essays do not "...reveal so much about what it is to live in this world, right now." -Roxane Gay, as printed on the cover. I understand that we live in a world where everything is fair game for publication on social media. I know the younger generation thinks nothing of posting things that previous generations would not have shared with their closest friends. I also realize that this woman started processing her feelings by posting them in an anonymous Twitter account. There is still such a thing as TMI. This book of essays is a testament to how varied we are in our thinking of what is too much information to share. There is a lot of graphic sexual language in this book that some may find crass or vulgar. For example, one essay includes five pages of sexting with a man she hadn't met. This was over the top! It didn't offend me but I wasn't interested in reading it either. If anything, I was a little awestruck that anyone a) does this and b) would write about it. This leads me to a whole other world of thinking: This woman claims to be self-conscious and concerned about what other's think, so...really?! She is putting it ALL out there. What can be left in her closet? She writes about "a lot of gross people" she has slept with, having a vomit fetish, eating her own bodily fluids, having an open marriage, sexting, being addicted to the Internet, and sending "nudes." I cannot relate. I also started questioning the authenticity, though I doubt anyone would make up a vomit fetish. Other thoughts I had while reading this: Does she have parents? Isn't she worried they will read this? Is this really what everyone is doing? Am I that sheltered? If so, I'm okay with it. I have to say that the writing is good. Some of the essays, particularly the last, are excellent. She writes about addiction, depression, and anxiety with an openness I've not read before now. There is a vulnerability to opening yourself up in this way and it is hard to not see that as brave, regardless of how many times I read the word "dick" in this book. I can't see myself recommending this but I would love to see what she does next. I should add that I am basically alone on an island with my rating. People love this book of essays. I will be interested in hearing what my friends think. 2.5 stars.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Warwick

    I guess everyone has their own line between ‘honesty’ and ‘oversharing’. Mine, it turns out, is where Melissa Broder goes into the details of her vomiting fetish. It's nice to have that nailed down, as a kind of reference point. I went through quite a journey with this book. At first, I really hated it. I found it grotesquely narcissistic and melodramatic, and I was baffled by the central role of social media in the author's life. I imagined writing a very unkind review. Though I sympathise with I guess everyone has their own line between ‘honesty’ and ‘oversharing’. Mine, it turns out, is where Melissa Broder goes into the details of her vomiting fetish. It's nice to have that nailed down, as a kind of reference point. I went through quite a journey with this book. At first, I really hated it. I found it grotesquely narcissistic and melodramatic, and I was baffled by the central role of social media in the author's life. I imagined writing a very unkind review. Though I sympathise with Broder's depression and anxiety, I would say, in the end my patience with more affectless journal entries from overeducated, overmedicated middle-class American women has limits. She tells us that she is ‘very pretty’, but also ‘self-centered and dysmorphic with low self-esteem’; she talks about how she has had eating disorders and addiction disorders and anxiety disorder, and that maybe she could've got rid of the anxiety but furthermore ‘there was depression underneath the anxiety’. (Anxiety-ception.) There is an essay, inevitably, about her antidepressant regime. ‘I've been in therapy my whole life,’ she says, to the surprise of absolutely nobody. ‘I can't imagine not being in therapy.’ I'm going to be totally honest here (inspired by Melissa Broder's own appalling brand of honesty), and admit that for the first half of this book, my knee-jerk inner monologue was along the lines of oh my fucking god WHO CARES, you vapid neurotic bitch. This is quite unlike me. The essays made me think affectionately of Olivia Laing's The Lonely City, another book about depression, but one in which the author's feelings are refracted productively through art works and biographical sketches, making it feel generous and outward-looking. Ironically, I criticised that book at the time for focusing too much on the art and not enough on the self-analysis. I now realise how wrong I was, because without that objective-correlative, all you have is self-obsession – which can be quite touching and meaningful in a tweet, but as a whole book, it's overwhelming. At first, I put at least some of this down to generational differences, but the more the book went on, the less convinced I was that she is actually any younger than me. (‘How old is Melissa Broder anyway?’ I googled, but Google didn't know, or at least not well enough to give me an answer within the fifteen seconds I looked.) From internal analysis of the book, she's gotta be in at least her late 30s – so all this social media obsession, the ‘shitty dopamine party’ of online sexting, the pornified fantasies, the impatience with real people and real life – none of that has anything to do with the stereotypical feckless Millennial. It's more like that early-middle-age thing of trying to out-Millennial Millennials (a phenomenon I see quite a lot of), which is why, for example, she sometimes writes in the kind of grating text-speak that I'm sure no one has actually used since about 2004: Higher self: like, why does it have to be all or nothing? why r u just str8 up good or str8 up evil? what if u r a v loveable douchebag? what if u r a heavenly asshole? what if u r a destructive beautiful person? Me: idk I would equate her use of social media to her use of Botox – also discussed in one of these essays. On some level it's all about being frightened of getting older, which is no secret in itself, since Broder's fear of death is a constant theme of the book. Once this started to make sense to me, I found my feelings about the book changing. I started to feel more…protective? Sympathetic? I wanted to give Melissa Broder some herbal tea and make sure she gets an early night. Her inability to see beyond her own concerns began to seem almost parodic. For example, reflecting on the end of one sexual relationship, she wonders: Is it that I am old? Is my skin a crocodile? Was it that I am already married? Perhaps it is that I am of the stars and he is of the earth. Uh, wait – go back one? That you were already married? Yeah, you know I think it might have been that one! And yet I loved that particular essay, about the intensity of a relationship that starts with online flirting and swapping fantasies, and about how hard it is to make real life live up to that when you finally meet. She takes you through the highs and lows of these online-to-IRL flings very well. And she makes a sustained effort to look hard at her own responses when it comes to libido, sexual impulse and guilt and fantasy, which I admired even though it leads to some pretty difficult places. As, for instance, with the aforementioned emetophilia, which she discusses in terrifying detail. Burping, to me, is the most sexual element of vomiting, because the sound is so primal. In my fantasies, the vomiters always burp a lot. I frequent the burp fetish forums, though I never leave a comment. One girl on the forums says her ultimate fantasy is a guy burping into her vagina as he gives her head. I'd have to agree that's a sexual ideal. Look, I had to read it. And although I found it hard to get through, I did end up feeling grudging respect for the relentlessness of this self-exposure. After all, essays about how people are anxious and depressed but working on it in therapy are ten-a-penny; an essay about wanking yourself into a stupor over vomitonline.com, that's something else. Once you've gone with her there, you are definitely a little changed, whether you like it or not. And this pays off in all kinds of ways when she wants to make a connection. Perhaps the most touching essay in here is the one not about herself, but about her husband, who suffers from an episodic, undiagnosed ME-like illness that leaves him bed-bound for months at a time. For a while, they tried an open relationship (see above), and it's interesting to read the thoughts of someone who tried this for eleven years and then stopped, not because their relationship failed but because they went back to monogamy. …with an open marriage, I was consistently reminded that having sex with my husband, having a husband, was a choice. As these men were separate from me, so too was my husband. I saw them each with new eyes and was reminded that I could see my husband, each time, with new eyes. Also, when I knew that [my husband] was having sex with another woman, I would get to envision him the way another woman might envision him. I liked thinking about other women wanting him. It made me want him more. […] Also, he had to tell me all the details after. This gave me a feeling of control. My biggest fear was to be the wife in the dark. I preferred to be the wingman, the locker-room buddy… I really don't know how to sum this book up. I didn't like it, then I kind of admired it, then I finished it, then for some reason I couldn't stop thinking about it. It's not really aimed at me, but in a strange way it makes me much more keen to read The Pisces because I think that a lot of the subjects Broder is dealing with are extremely potent and productive subjects for fiction. They just need that sublimation; otherwise it's too much like reading a print-out of someone's LiveJournal, no matter how honest and well written and no matter how much I think, after all, that I rather like the person who wrote them. She also says that she doesn't like Tom Waits, so that was a star off.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Library overdrive Audiobook … ….read by Melissa Broder ….5 hours and 5 minutes Sometimes I’m so naïve…. brain challenged …. I had NO CLUE of what this book was about.. I didn’t know who the author was— I had not been on the Goodreads site to check anything — I wondered - still wonder …. have I read another book by this author? I didn’t think so…but maybe? I mean when I took a look at her books on Amazon (my computer is open to her Amazon page as I type this)…..just having finished the audio ( I mus Library overdrive Audiobook … ….read by Melissa Broder ….5 hours and 5 minutes Sometimes I’m so naïve…. brain challenged …. I had NO CLUE of what this book was about.. I didn’t know who the author was— I had not been on the Goodreads site to check anything — I wondered - still wonder …. have I read another book by this author? I didn’t think so…but maybe? I mean when I took a look at her books on Amazon (my computer is open to her Amazon page as I type this)…..just having finished the audio ( I must me delaying sharing my thoughts and feelings a little longer here?- not really - but perhaps a little)… I remember the ‘fishy-Pisces’ book cover — and I might had read ‘Milk Fed’…??? ( not sure - and not peeking on my Goodreads page until I’m done typing ‘this’…. So…WHAT I’M TRYING TO SAY… “from the moment I started listening to this audio —until I finished it…. in my BLIND MIND …MY LIVING UNDER A ROCK….I HAD NO CONSCIOUS AWARENESS of ANYTHING about *Melissa Broder*”. I even thought that this was a new released book - (new to me) - but published in 2016. So… after listening to the first half of this book… I had a phone conversation with Cheri (thank you Cheri)…. I told her I was listening to a book that was blowing my mind —I was so embarrassed. (yet absolutely didn’t want to toss it out the window). I told Cheri that this author was SAYING THINGS THAT - not only would I be embarrassed to say out loud — but holy-moly….I’ve never even THOUGHT ABOUT THINGS that Melissa Broder shares in these essays (a memoir like no other memoir I’ve ever listened to in my life)…. I even dragged Paul in to listen to some of it. We’re going to buy it…. (listen together on hikes or when gardening in the yard). The first question I asked myself was “can I recommend this book to others?” NO —- ABSOLUTELY NOT…(okay — I’m thinking of a few people - a few Goodreads members — that ‘yes’….I’d say “DIVE RIGHT IN”. Note…. If anyone has a question if I think this book would be for them, send me a private message; I’ll tell you my truth. But I don’t want to take responsibility of highly recommending this book to anybody. Readers > you’re on your own with this book choice. I haven’t read any reviews on Goodreads yet….but on Amazon there are 493 ratings —78% are 5 stars. It’s what I’m going with too — 5 stars from me too!!! I want to buy the book - that might tell you something. The rest of this review will be my …..dot tidbits. …… : …. There was one essay that takes place here in Northern California and Marin that I actually knew a lot about. I’m was shocked listening to her describe the entire ordeal….shaking my head like crazy….(but also found it a hell of a lot of fun ‘hearing’ her DESCRIBED—a place where I knew many people had gone to….asking myself …. “Have I met Melissa Broder”???? I’ve got to make some phone calls to a few local friends and ask them some questions.. ….I looked at some reviews on Amazon… I agree with the following comments…. …THE ESSAYS ARE DEFINITELY PERSONAL (agree fully) … poetic prose and good writing > “YES, agree, but really, that’s what stands out?” I’ll keep my -dot-tidbits PG rated - (won’t share the more graphic X rated) ….Here is a sentence that stands out for me (it’s tame compared to others) ….”I’ve had sex with 300 pound men with acorns for a penis for free”. ….other random topics range from chakras, tantra sex, evening sex on the Golden Gate Bridge, her eating disorders (I FOUND THIS TO BE A STRONG HIGHLIGHT of all her varied themes)….sex, mental disorders, communication, massage, rebirthing experiences, sacred dance, anti-age choices (Botox - etc), body image, bravery, work, workshops, getting paid for sex, New York and San Francisco comparisons, 3 hour vaginal massages, men, women, sexuality of every kind, feminism (truth and insights for Melissa), marriage, wine, weed, coke, food, money, self worth, anxiety, addiction, ADDICTION’S’….recovery, depression, love, infatuation, therapy (it was an interesting take), turn on’s turn off’s, porn, escapes, feeling about everything under the sun, vomiting, Wellbutrin, death, relationships of all kinds.. ….These essays are raw, bold, brave….filled with stories about polygamous/ free love, illusion, control, vanity,…etc etc. Melissa “DOES NOT TRUST THAT THE UNIVERSE PROVIDES”… ….Evening snack: six pints of diet ice cream with sprinkles of saccharine. (gotta say, that was one I never heard of) ….Melissa has an invested interest in keeping things under control. …. “She is an eater who plays a game that mostly exists in her head” ….F#c^ing….(lots of it), mothers, others, beauty, dark, funny, achingly authentic ….MUCH IS POIGNANT …. ….THERE ‘IS’…… something relatable to everyone. ( not all of it)….parts are cringingly uncomfortable to hear/read. Melissa’s favorite food has a BAR CODE …(too funny)… why? For a control nut …she can depend on the number of calories. ….ABOUT FLAWS….”let’s be here together, dismantled, tell the truth”…. ….accept each other…LOVE EACH OTHER…even when our inner critical voice is judging - comparing - obsessing, selfishly more interested in our beauty, fantasies than the world at large. ….Melissa HAS a long term nicotine gum addition ….Battles of inner demons, to….actually having a damn good handle on the full scope of awareness about herself. ….One Amazon reader said….”I never knew one person had so much to say about themselves” -FUNNY….(not wrong) ….Soooo this is a self- select book — for the open-minded courageous readers. There is wayyyy too much - more- in this book that I can’t write in a public form … But….I give it a solid 5 stars (having learned things I never knew I needed to learn).

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    I love the way Melissa Broder writes. There is something mesmerizing in the way she structures her sentences and her essays. I read her debut novel The Pisces earlier this year and fell so much in love that I more or less immediately went out and bought this one. And I am so very glad I did. My favourite essay in this collection is "I want to be a whole person but really thin" - it's repeating sentences and sentence structures hammered home a point so painful and real that all the other essays th I love the way Melissa Broder writes. There is something mesmerizing in the way she structures her sentences and her essays. I read her debut novel The Pisces earlier this year and fell so much in love that I more or less immediately went out and bought this one. And I am so very glad I did. My favourite essay in this collection is "I want to be a whole person but really thin" - it's repeating sentences and sentence structures hammered home a point so painful and real that all the other essays that followed could not quite keep up with. Broder unflinchingly looks into her own eating disorder and the way it impacts her life and does so stylistically brillaint. In general, So Sad Today is painfully honest in a lyrical way that made reading it a total joy while also giving me whiplash. Melissa Broder does not shy away from the uglier parts of her life and her personality. She centers herself in her art in that unapologetic way that I just adore.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Forsyth

    Vain. Self-absorbed. Vulgar. Poetic. Beautiful. Brave. I was supposed to read other things for work this weekend, but I couldn't stop thinking about (and then picking back up) this little book of essays by Melissa Broder. There is a raw power to her prose, unmatched by anything I've read recently. She will infuriate and disgust you in one sentence and then lift you gracefully into the sky in the next. It's a virtuoso act of stunning confidence, especially given that the book is about her cripplin Vain. Self-absorbed. Vulgar. Poetic. Beautiful. Brave. I was supposed to read other things for work this weekend, but I couldn't stop thinking about (and then picking back up) this little book of essays by Melissa Broder. There is a raw power to her prose, unmatched by anything I've read recently. She will infuriate and disgust you in one sentence and then lift you gracefully into the sky in the next. It's a virtuoso act of stunning confidence, especially given that the book is about her crippling anxiety and depression. The other recurring themes: sex, death, Eastern mysticism, obsession, social media, eating disorders, sex, death, vomit, addiction, sex, and death. There's quite a bit of bodily fluids here, and the accompanying blue language, which sometimes borders on glib. I mean, look at some of these essay titles: "How to Never Be Enough" "I Want to Be A Whole Person, but Really Thin" "Love Like You Are Trying to Fill an Insatiable Spiritual Hole with Another Person Who Will Suffocate in There" "Google Hangout with My Higher Self" There's liberal use of all of the synonyms of "vagina" I could imagine, and some I couldn't. So, yeah. She uses bad words. A lot of people will be turned off by the crassness, but those who see the mask and don't run will find an unbelievably honest, unflinchingly brave existential portrait that has moments of genuine grace.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    As she proved in her invigorating novel The Pisces, Melissa Broder is nothing if not candid. Her essay collection So Sad Today makes an interesting companion read, especially due to a main criticism you'll often hear of The Pisces: that Lucy (the main character) isn't 'likable' enough. I hadn't known much about Melissa Broder's personal life before reading So Sad Today, but I understandably came away from it with the strong impression that Broder modeled Lucy after herself; in which case, can we As she proved in her invigorating novel The Pisces, Melissa Broder is nothing if not candid. Her essay collection So Sad Today makes an interesting companion read, especially due to a main criticism you'll often hear of The Pisces: that Lucy (the main character) isn't 'likable' enough. I hadn't known much about Melissa Broder's personal life before reading So Sad Today, but I understandably came away from it with the strong impression that Broder modeled Lucy after herself; in which case, can we extend the same complaint to this book, and how much is likability tied to worth? Broder doesn't spare herself in these essays: she can be selfish, hypocritical, vain, needy, and emotionally distant, but I don't think she, or anyone, should have to sanitize themselves in an essay collection that focuses on the tension between being authentic to yourself and being accepted by others. As for the writing style itself, the essays that erred on the side of conversational were consistently my least favorites (I have never enjoyed reading other people's text message exchanges and I wasn't about to start here). But the more literary essays I thought were incisive and piercing; make no mistake, this isn't a scholarly, academic exploration of the many many themes that she introduces - loneliness, sex, mental illness, addiction - but instead it's a fiercely personal collection that will probably succeed in striking a chord with most readers at one point or another, despite the fact that the details of Broder's life may be difficult to relate to. For me it was the essay on depression and anxiety that hit the hardest, with lines like this particularly resonating: "For someone with anxiety, dramatic situations are, in a way, more comfortable than the mundane. In dramatic situations the world rises to meet your anxiety. When there are no dramatic situations available, you turn the mundane into the dramatic." Ultimately if you don't get on with crude, vulgar writing, you won't get on with this, though I wouldn't suggest that it's only crude for the sake of being crude. In both her novel and nonfiction, Broder excels at exploring the uglier sides of human behavior and examining the underlying neuroses and insecurities that propel us to act in unsavory ways. But I will say, if you have emetophobia, please for the love of god be smarter than I was and skip the essay about her vomit fetish.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    Apparently I need to start a new shelf for 'fucking weird books'. "I had this weird intuition that if I could just make it to my Bat Mitzvah I could both prevent the Holocaust from happening again and also get all my friends back. Strangely, my intuition was right." *Long dramatic sigh* Where do I start? At the part where I bought this book because I see it at The Strand everyday? Or the part where I fell asleep 70% of the way in? So Sad Today is book of short stories about Melissa's life. WEI Apparently I need to start a new shelf for 'fucking weird books'. "I had this weird intuition that if I could just make it to my Bat Mitzvah I could both prevent the Holocaust from happening again and also get all my friends back. Strangely, my intuition was right." *Long dramatic sigh* Where do I start? At the part where I bought this book because I see it at The Strand everyday? Or the part where I fell asleep 70% of the way in? So Sad Today is book of short stories about Melissa's life. WEIRD STORIES. Like, stories about vomit fetishes, vaginal 'massages' by bald fifty year olds, plus weird sex stuff. I honestly didn't find anything that funny or interesting despite it all being so strange. The writing also bored me to tears, but that might be just a 'me' thing. Confession: I don't know what the hell I'm saying, but this book just wasn't for me. Yeah it talks about anxiety, eating disorders, etc. but nothing felt relatable to me. "Babies are born, because parents feel that they themselves are not enough. So, parents, never condemn us for trying to fill our existential holes, when we are but the fruit of your own vain attempts to fill yours." I did find this quote relatable, though lol.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Steph

    oh, i adored these essays. i vibe so hard with broder. i dreaded finishing the book because i didn't want to stop vibing with her 🥺 oh, i adored these essays. i vibe so hard with broder. i dreaded finishing the book because i didn't want to stop vibing with her 🥺

  11. 5 out of 5

    Paquita Maria Sanchez

    "When you have low self-esteem, to be embraced at your most vile is a marvel." P.S. I embrace her. She's crude and sex-centric and self-obsessed and admittedly often shallow and I fucking love her, even at her most vile. Marginally related: the most intimate thing I ever heard was from this junkie punk couple at a party when I was in high school and way out of my depth: the lady had the spins and was sprawled near a bush, and the guy says "Baby, are you gonna spew? Because baby, baby, I'll hold y "When you have low self-esteem, to be embraced at your most vile is a marvel." P.S. I embrace her. She's crude and sex-centric and self-obsessed and admittedly often shallow and I fucking love her, even at her most vile. Marginally related: the most intimate thing I ever heard was from this junkie punk couple at a party when I was in high school and way out of my depth: the lady had the spins and was sprawled near a bush, and the guy says "Baby, are you gonna spew? Because baby, baby, I'll hold your hair back for you." She had a Chelsea cut, as in, shaved head but with two tiny blonde pieces in the front, as in nothing to hold out of the way. The fact that they were close enough that he could joke with her even at her most icky and vulnerable stuck to my ribs like barnacles. She laughed so hard that she finally puked from it, and then she felt a lot better, and then later as I drifted off on the couch, they slow-danced to Mazzy Star in the dark surrounded by sleeping bodies and beercans and ash under Christmas lights. That's kind of what this book is like, if you let it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    This is a dazzling example of how to get DEEP into your personal muck while writing an essay in today's social media-saturated world. It's simply shocking at times how nakedly honest Broder is. A couple of essays in particular (Love Like You Are Trying to Fill an Insatiable Spiritual Hole... & I Told You Not to Get the Knish) are almost painful to read for all their beauty, truth, and candor. If you just flipped through the book and felt turned off by all the Twitter and text message mentions, y This is a dazzling example of how to get DEEP into your personal muck while writing an essay in today's social media-saturated world. It's simply shocking at times how nakedly honest Broder is. A couple of essays in particular (Love Like You Are Trying to Fill an Insatiable Spiritual Hole... & I Told You Not to Get the Knish) are almost painful to read for all their beauty, truth, and candor. If you just flipped through the book and felt turned off by all the Twitter and text message mentions, you'll be foolish to think this is some kind of light, surface-y foray into modern "feels." Those modern settings are just where Broder and her anxiety finds herself. She communicates these modern sadnesses in today's world so beautifully, and often with sharp humor. If you join her there, you might find yourself overwhelmed too.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michael Seidlinger

    "So Sad Today" is one big erudite tome packed full and brimming with so much insight, you could essentially cut it down, sentence-for-sentence, and use each as its own tweet and they'd all trend. Every single one would trend. Not even one would be lost to the void. "So Sad Today" is one big erudite tome packed full and brimming with so much insight, you could essentially cut it down, sentence-for-sentence, and use each as its own tweet and they'd all trend. Every single one would trend. Not even one would be lost to the void.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sylwia

    Why I Recommend Bumping This UP On Your TBR: My review is #ownvoices. I know what it's like to have disordered thinking and to have substance use and mental health disorders. The best thing about this book isn't just that Broder shows what having these diagnoses is like, the best thing about these essays is that Broder is able to take a step back and describe completely disordered thoughts with a lot of insight, without perpetuating harmful ideas. She's able to say the thoughts that we have, wit Why I Recommend Bumping This UP On Your TBR: My review is #ownvoices. I know what it's like to have disordered thinking and to have substance use and mental health disorders. The best thing about this book isn't just that Broder shows what having these diagnoses is like, the best thing about these essays is that Broder is able to take a step back and describe completely disordered thoughts with a lot of insight, without perpetuating harmful ideas. She's able to say the thoughts that we have, without judgment, but also without normalization. These thoughts and experiences happen, but they're not healthy. They're not something to strive for, they're something we live with and work against. I appreciate her narrative voice so much. I appreciate her insights. Now from the literary analysis perspective: this was extremely well-written in that I couldn't put it down, nothing was unnecessary, things meant to be funny were funny, and she was able to get a reader thinking about various topics and about themselves and their own decisions. This is my first 5 read of 2018, and I strongly recommend it. Content warnings: vomiting, eating disorders, substance use disorder and alcohol/drug use, depression, anxiety, cheating, fire, and possibly more.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ylenia

    UPDATE after re-read: I kept thinking about this book so I had to re-read a couple of essays from it. I went into this especially for the one about open marriage. I really, really love her writing and Melissa Broder as a human being in general, and knowing what I was getting into made it 10 times more enjoyable this time around. My favorite essays: Help Me Not Be a Human Being, I Told You Not to Get The Knish: thoughts on open marriage and illness, Under my Anxiety is Sadness but Who Would Go Unde UPDATE after re-read: I kept thinking about this book so I had to re-read a couple of essays from it. I went into this especially for the one about open marriage. I really, really love her writing and Melissa Broder as a human being in general, and knowing what I was getting into made it 10 times more enjoyable this time around. My favorite essays: Help Me Not Be a Human Being, I Told You Not to Get The Knish: thoughts on open marriage and illness, Under my Anxiety is Sadness but Who Would Go Under There.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dipali

    Nope.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    I was given this book through a GoodReads giveaway. I never knew of the twitter feed, but the book of essays sounded interesting. The back was about Melissa and how she struggles with panic attacks and used twitter to express her dark feelings that she probably could not share with anyone. Themes she explores are death, addiction, love, and many others, but mostly sex. Sex seemed to be more prevalent than the other themes. I felt bad for not liking this collection, it sounded like a collection th I was given this book through a GoodReads giveaway. I never knew of the twitter feed, but the book of essays sounded interesting. The back was about Melissa and how she struggles with panic attacks and used twitter to express her dark feelings that she probably could not share with anyone. Themes she explores are death, addiction, love, and many others, but mostly sex. Sex seemed to be more prevalent than the other themes. I felt bad for not liking this collection, it sounded like a collection that I would at least enjoy. I am an anxious person myself, not diagnosed with anxiety, but I wanted to relate. After all, it can help to know you are not alone, especially when people like Melissa share feelings that would be hard to even say out loud. However, these essays were not helpful and often strange. I get that she is being brutally honest, so I understand her sharing her problems and some readers being uncomfortable, but this is among the oversharing variety. Not the good kind of oversharing either where you feel kinda uncomfortable, but glad you are not the only one or uncomfortable, but yet oddly still intrigued. Nope. Not at all. Instead just jumbled essays where I did not see any value in. Many of the essays included her talking about what bodily fluids she ate, her counting calories, her gross sex thoughts and adventures, and how the whole world is against her. I found it hard to find any meaning or valuable bit in between the unnecessary commentary on sh*t stains in a toilet or fetishes. The only parts I felt meaningful were the addiction parts because so many people struggle with addiction and she described it in many different ways. I felt sympathy for her at these points, but the other points, I felt only boredom or disgust. I am overall disappointed with this book and I feel that the description may be deceiving as to what you are getting into. Also, the writing wasn't even enough to keep me reading. It was a struggle to get through. I'm better off reading Lena Dunham, at least her oversharing is better. Maybe I am missing out on something that only certain people understand, but this one I am glad to be missing out on!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Sullivan

    I’m so grateful that women like Melissa Broder exist. This deeply personal and often uncomfortable essay collection is raw and fearless, unafraid to probe the most primal depths of being human: from anxiety and depression and addiction to polyamory and vomit fetishes and the unhealthiest of coping mechanisms. Even in the times when I couldn’t relate directly to what Broder was writing about, her presence still made me feel less alone. We’re all fucked up in our own way and sometimes it’s liberati I’m so grateful that women like Melissa Broder exist. This deeply personal and often uncomfortable essay collection is raw and fearless, unafraid to probe the most primal depths of being human: from anxiety and depression and addiction to polyamory and vomit fetishes and the unhealthiest of coping mechanisms. Even in the times when I couldn’t relate directly to what Broder was writing about, her presence still made me feel less alone. We’re all fucked up in our own way and sometimes it’s liberating to just sit with that for a while. Broder’s voice is so honest and important.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Vincent Scarpa

    I think I went into this book with sized-to-scale expectations. I'd read a collection of Broder's poetry—Meat Heart—and didn't really care for it, but I found her tweets from the So Sad Today account wickedly funny. And so I thought, what the hell, why not give this essay collection a go. And I'm so, so glad I did, as it far exceeded my expectations and made me rethink why I'd set the bar where I had in the first place. Because the thing is that Melissa Broder is a terrific writer and a terrific I think I went into this book with sized-to-scale expectations. I'd read a collection of Broder's poetry—Meat Heart—and didn't really care for it, but I found her tweets from the So Sad Today account wickedly funny. And so I thought, what the hell, why not give this essay collection a go. And I'm so, so glad I did, as it far exceeded my expectations and made me rethink why I'd set the bar where I had in the first place. Because the thing is that Melissa Broder is a terrific writer and a terrific essayist. These essays are smart, often hysterically funny, extremely vulnerable. They capture the lived experience—of lust, of anxiety, of intimacy, of illness—in fundamentally new ways. What Didion did with California, Broder does with the distance of the digital age and the relationships we try (and often fail) to forge within it. Also exciting to me was how much of the body was written, rendered, present in these essays. Maggie Nelson's talk last year at Tin House has really refocused my attention to literature that dramatizes the experience of the body in time, and Broder's essays do just that. They also, as Barthes instructs, "pluralize and specify." I can't think of anyone better to have their eyes focused on this subject matter than Melissa Broder, for she is a fearless seeker and deft chronicler. Whether she's talking about eating disorders, open marriages, mental illness, addictions of many kinds, caretaking, the burden of a body and of consciousness—I'm fucking in. Some favorite lines... “What I have sought in love is a reprieve from the itch of consciousness—to transcend myself and my human imperfections—but this has yet to happen.”- “Help Me Not Be A Human Being” “I’m sorry that when you asked what you could to help me have an orgasm I said leave the room.”- "Help Me Not Be A Human Being” “What happens to the space that two people occupied together? How can it just disappear? Why can’t it just become something else? What I maybe miss most is being able to lapse into spaceland and fantasize about the sex with him. But it is no longer safe for me to do that. The fantasy is no longer safe. It is a death valley. Reality killed it. I also miss the many months of uncertainty of not knowing whether we could be. The nebulousness. Now I know we could not.”- “Love Like You Are Trying to Fill an Insatiable Spiritual Hole with Another Person Who Will Suffocate in There” “One form of romantic obsession is to become infatuated with someone who actually exists. With this type of romantic obsession, you project your entire fantasy narrative onto a person in your life and attempt to get them to comply. You take a living, breathing human being and try to stuff them into the insatiable holes inside you. These holes are in no way shaped like that person (or any person.)”- “Never Getting Over the Fantasy of You is Going Okay” “I think it’s okay to not be grateful for your curses. I think it’s okay to just want your blessings to be blessings.”- “Keep Your Friends Close But Your Anxiety Closer”

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sofia Banzhaf

    read this yesterday in one sitting under a blanket fort with my iphone flashlight during a particularly bad 24 hours of borderline nervous breakdown and it was nice to have company. i cried my way through most of the book. melissa broder is the saviour she's been looking for. read this yesterday in one sitting under a blanket fort with my iphone flashlight during a particularly bad 24 hours of borderline nervous breakdown and it was nice to have company. i cried my way through most of the book. melissa broder is the saviour she's been looking for.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kate Conroy

    This is a book that I was supposed to love. Personal essays about experiences with mental illness with a touch of humor or arguably too many touches is like 100% my thing. Even my book reviews have that style half the time. And yet, I very much did not like So Sad Today. I feel bad about disliking this book so much because it’s a real person’s deepest secrets and most intimate feelings. I can appreciate what she did. The things she shared are intense, and I related to her feelings of depersonali This is a book that I was supposed to love. Personal essays about experiences with mental illness with a touch of humor or arguably too many touches is like 100% my thing. Even my book reviews have that style half the time. And yet, I very much did not like So Sad Today. I feel bad about disliking this book so much because it’s a real person’s deepest secrets and most intimate feelings. I can appreciate what she did. The things she shared are intense, and I related to her feelings of depersonalization and derealization that I have been scared to share with other people, so I applaud her for sharing them. But the rest of it…. Well, I consider myself to be pretty weird, but as I read this, I started to feel very, very normal. The hyper-sexuality of So Sad Today is what really turned me off to it (ironically?). Gosh, at least eighty percent of it is about sex, and I was uncomfortable to say the least while reading, for instance, the chapter that is mostly made up of very graphic sexts. Call me prudish (or perhaps semi-asexual) if you like, but I have no interest in that sort of thing, so I started to think maybe this book just isn’t for me. Argh. I’m struggling with this, you guys. I want to say that objectively, definitively, there’s too much sex in this book. Yet, there’s nothing about literature that’s objective. This is when I start to think about what a book review’s purpose really is, and what anyone’s opinion on a book really means. This is Broder’s life story, and she can tell it however she likes. I can’t suggest that she write a different story because then it would not be true. All I can say is that I did not enjoy reading her story. In addition to my discomfort, I felt her writing was repetitive. There is a chapter that solely consists of single lines followed by “: a love story,” which is supposed to indicate that each line is the title of a love story. After several of those lines, I was incredibly bored. I was like, okay, I get the point. And her writing wasn’t particularly vivid, despite its detailed grotesqueness. I couldn’t see what she saw. (Though often, I really didn’t want to.) What I wanted to hear more about was her struggles with addiction. I’ve dealt with many of the same issues as the author, but I’ve never experienced an alcohol/drug addiction, so I was really curious to know more about what that was like for her. Yet, I felt she didn’t go into it very deeply, and I think the book would be a lot stronger if she had included some more discussion on that topic instead of so many sexts. Okay, so I wrote all of that about a week ago, and I felt like I was going in circles and I needed to take a step back from it. And coming back to it, I have more definitive things to say about it. It was brave of the author to share all the things that she did, and I hope it was cathartic and freeing for her. However, from a literary standpoint, she failed to tell her story in a way that was vivid and interesting, and her writing is repetitive and chaotic. Therefore, I did not enjoy reading this, and my rating is rather low. This review is rather chaotic itself, so thanks for bearing with me! This was a hard one. Happy reading, my friends.

  22. 4 out of 5

    xTx xTx

    A tribute to honesty and struggle wrapped in a tortilla of raw. Found a lot of 'me toos' in this A tribute to honesty and struggle wrapped in a tortilla of raw. Found a lot of 'me toos' in this

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mickey

    Hmmm...so there were definitely aspects of this essay collection that I liked. I liked that Broder was willing to show us the worst of herself. She admits to horrible things she has done and thought, to sexual fetishes that are way outside of the box, and is open about the fact that she can sometimes be a really horrible shallow individual. Even when I found myself annoyed or even disgusted by her, I often was able to let that go because I admired her bravery in being willing to present herself Hmmm...so there were definitely aspects of this essay collection that I liked. I liked that Broder was willing to show us the worst of herself. She admits to horrible things she has done and thought, to sexual fetishes that are way outside of the box, and is open about the fact that she can sometimes be a really horrible shallow individual. Even when I found myself annoyed or even disgusted by her, I often was able to let that go because I admired her bravery in being willing to present herself in such a negative way. There were definitely aspects of this book that hit very close to home. She does a great job capturing what it's like to be depressed and suffer from anxiety. There is a lot of self-absorption involved in depression and anxiety (even though it is mostly negative) and she captures that perfectly. However, as the collection went on it got a little repetitive and my annoyance with her began to outweigh my admiration. I might read more of her poetry but I doubt I'd read more of her personal essays.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Madalyn (Novel Ink)

    I really appreciate how candidly Broder speaks on things like mental illness and substance abuse. At times I felt like she was in my brain. Did I need that much explicit detail about her sex life? No, but everything else about these essays made up for that. I love that she speaks both as someone struggling with MIs AND as someone who’s actively trying to get better.

  25. 5 out of 5

    angie

    “I will regret the frivolity of chasing beauty and seeking validation, the kinds of things I have done to provide an illusion of safety on this planet, behaviors that perhaps wasted my one and only life.” Some of the lines here could literally be Mitski lyrics. I have never felt so seen in a piece of literature. Melissa Broder’s writing is so raw and vulnerable that you almost feel uncomfortable because it feels like you are reading directly from her thoughts. This book talks about things like lo “I will regret the frivolity of chasing beauty and seeking validation, the kinds of things I have done to provide an illusion of safety on this planet, behaviors that perhaps wasted my one and only life.” Some of the lines here could literally be Mitski lyrics. I have never felt so seen in a piece of literature. Melissa Broder’s writing is so raw and vulnerable that you almost feel uncomfortable because it feels like you are reading directly from her thoughts. This book talks about things like love fantasies, low self-esteem, greatness accompanied by madness, and so much more. It would be an understatement to say that this gave me so much comfort because of how achingly relatable some of the lines here are. I genuinely felt as if Broder could read my thoughts. I laughed, I pondered, and I even shed a few tears. 10/10 would recommend!!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    I had actually been looking forward to reading this book. And I really wanted to like it - I tried SO HARD to like it. The opening was great. It was funny and I was optimistic. But it just went downhill from there. I was actively searching for the depression aspect (outside of the whole "woe is me," spiel), but I never found it. Instead, it just sounded like some desperate-for-attention floozy, who wanted to make sure that everyone knew that she does indeed have sex... and lots of it! Well, good I had actually been looking forward to reading this book. And I really wanted to like it - I tried SO HARD to like it. The opening was great. It was funny and I was optimistic. But it just went downhill from there. I was actively searching for the depression aspect (outside of the whole "woe is me," spiel), but I never found it. Instead, it just sounded like some desperate-for-attention floozy, who wanted to make sure that everyone knew that she does indeed have sex... and lots of it! Well, good for you (I guess), but that's not why I chose to read a book like this. I was under the impression that this would be a narrative about someone who struggles with depression, and would be attempting to impart some type of valuable message to her audience (silly me). Instead, what I got was "The Daily Life of Hugh Hefner" (her own female version, of course). And a vomit fetish. And an entire chapter (Love Like You... blah, blah, blah... I don't actually care) that with the exception of one sentence, ought to have been removed from the book, in its entirety. The whole thing was an awful mess, up until page 140, when it started to (almost) redeem itself. However, it sadly took its last nosedive (and stayed there), shortly thereafter. It was no secret that she was married and doing all of these things, but when she talked about the condition of her husband... forget it! And then later, when she so casually mentioned another life choice like, "No Biggie," it reaffirmed my opinion that this author probably has a narcissistic personality disorder, and so there would be no meaningful takeaway from this book. I'm other words, I wasted my time, when I could have been doing something more useful like watching paint dry. Oh, well. Lesson learned. I should have run in the other direction way back when, when I heard that this book had been endorsed by Lena Dunham. Lena Dunham. Enough said.

  27. 5 out of 5

    shadowboxerbaby

    i’m not one to shame people for over sharing about their lives (because i do it too) but oh my god?!?!??

  28. 4 out of 5

    bianca

    rated 3.8 stars rounded up.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ana WJ

    Meliz (my nickname for you, even though you're entirely unaware of it hehe), you know I love you and you know that when I write 3 stars, I really mean 3.7. and I imagine you also know that I loved the non-traditional formatting of this book, the taboos on top of the taboos and even the f*ck bois that never deserved ur sweet peach!!!, but I gotta say this wasn't 100% my fave of yours. I'm gonna be a return customer, though. always. Meliz (my nickname for you, even though you're entirely unaware of it hehe), you know I love you and you know that when I write 3 stars, I really mean 3.7. and I imagine you also know that I loved the non-traditional formatting of this book, the taboos on top of the taboos and even the f*ck bois that never deserved ur sweet peach!!!, but I gotta say this wasn't 100% my fave of yours. I'm gonna be a return customer, though. always.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Leo Robertson

    I have most definitely spent a lot of the last year thinking that I wanted to yell "Why the hell did you bring me here?!" to my parents. Because they've both passed away already. It's like a Catch-22, but nicer, because there's no war. It’s cathartic, then, to read Melissa Broder's thoughts on this--that bringing someone into the world without their consent is unethical. I appreciated also when a trusted coworker told me he'd never thought about death more than after he'd had a child. "Having a ki I have most definitely spent a lot of the last year thinking that I wanted to yell "Why the hell did you bring me here?!" to my parents. Because they've both passed away already. It's like a Catch-22, but nicer, because there's no war. It’s cathartic, then, to read Melissa Broder's thoughts on this--that bringing someone into the world without their consent is unethical. I appreciated also when a trusted coworker told me he'd never thought about death more than after he'd had a child. "Having a kid is a kinda reckless thing to do," he told me. And that was really useful to hear. He’s a good guy. And a great dad, it seems like. At that time, reading Thomas Ligotti's "The Conspiracy Against the Human Race" was entirely the wrong thing to do. An anti-natalist, if I understand him correctly, he would suggest, "Birth is reckless, therefore let's stop having kids and put this whole 'consciousness' mistake to rest, for good." I sense Broder thinks this often but doesn't want to go this far. I don't either. So I wish I’d read this book some months ago instead of Ligotti’s. Although if you’re in the kind of state where you’re desperately looking to literature to tell you what you need to hear, something is bound to go wrong. Broder speaks about being of a mindset that only Camus and Sartre understand her, and barely even then. Ooft, been there. (Though these days I turn to the So Sad Today Twitter feed for support also I also very much appreciated an insight of hers on there: “Without sobriety I wouldn’t have a chance at happiness.” That is, sobriety doesn’t equal happiness—it merely allows for the opportunity of it. That stops you thinking, “When will this sobriety thing start working?!” It already is!) An analogy I thought of for the grief process is at my day job as an engineer. If an industrial plant is on the brink of explosion, you want it to automatically shut parts of itself off and isolate the bit that’s about to explode so that it minimizes damage to personnel. And that’s what you’re like when you’re grieving: “This is an emergency. Parts of me are going to explode. My new most immediate objective is damage control.” If people don’t forgive you for this—they will surprise and disappoint you, because it’s like being in a videogame or a “what if” scenario where you get to see how some strange other version of life would play out, except it’s actually happening—why, won’t they feel silly when they do the exact same thing when they’re inevitably grieving! And what will you do then? Probably look after them 😊 I did laugh sometimes, in the past year. I danced around in my kitchen in the morning to bad dance music. (Why stop doing that, after all?) I ate my share of custard pastries! And even when you’re curled up on the carpet in agony, a disengaged part of you thinks, “Look at me go, I’m really suffering effectively! Is this what it’s like at the bottom? I can handle this. I mean, it could always be worse.” How amazing it is that even the unthinkable has happened, and it’s a big deal, but not the biggest. It’s “a deal”, really. If, when all this bullshit is over, you can invert this principle, and think/do/say/try things you previously thought unthinkable—omg! What that would do to your life! What it has already done for mine! What interesting uses I am making of grief! If you can’t prepare for these things in regular life—and I don’t think you can—and you can’t do anything about them happening one day, then they’re not really worth thinking about. Get a will in order if you have any assets or whatever, then go about your business. If you’re scared you won’t be able to handle the agony of grief, I think you’ll surprise yourself! If you’re scared of the process of dying—I mean, I think panic attacks are the closest you can get to dying without it happening, and they’re horrible, but you can get through them. You don’t even have to “get through” the process of dying—you’ll be done, haha. If it’s anything like a panic attack, in fact, I’ll take it. Just, please, when it’s my turn, nothing drawn-out. As for people who say things like, “You never get over the loss of a loved one”—this is a kind of useful insight because it’s saying, “If you still feel sad about it sometimes, don’t think that you’ve done anything wrong—this is normal.” And all your life you’ll probably want your parents to step in and make everything okay, but whether they’re still here or not, they can’t. I prefer to move on from these statements, though—what’s more deadening than nurturing your own post-grief victimhood? What could be less of a tribute to those we have loved and lost than using it as an excuse for inactivity? MY POINT IS: This book is great for people like who I was earlier this year. Broderesque sieves searching for validation outside themselves. Some people live their lives like this, and I’m thankful not to be one of them. I think these insights into the way her mind works are especially useful because shame thrives on them, and shame thrives on darkness. So if you put these thoughts in the light, the shame in others can no longer convince them that they are the only ones who feel this way. They will have to stop feeling bad about that, because it isn’t true. But when do these cathartic complaints become whining? Broder doesn’t know, nor do I. She writes of the problem of whining in a self-aware manner, but it’s still whining. Which makes it unpleasant to read at times. Also, Broder’s writing inhabits a space just above pessimism, but it often dips its toes in that murky black pool. Broder doesn’t go as far as pessimism, I don’t think, but her voice is right at its edge. When she successfully balances there, it’s brilliant and a sign of her original genius. When it dips into whining, even when self-aware, it’s obnoxious. But I know she’s not doing it on purpose. Extremist points of view almost by definition put a full stop at the end of their thinking. After a book like “The Conspiracy Against the Human Race,” for example, there’s nowhere left to go, really. Once it’s been said once, it’s done with. I saw that there’s a journal dedicated to writing inspired by pessimist thinkers—but what more is there to say on pessimism, really? How does an ideology have “news”? It’s also difficult to recognize one of the voices in such a movement from any other. When I read some of this book I thought, “This reads like Vice articles.” Then I saw that some were published on Vice. And then you think, is that a magazine’s voice, or do all those writers sound the same because edgy nihilism doesn’t really have anywhere to go? A lot of horror authors think the most profound thing that humans have to reckon with is that they will die one day. Maybe so, but once you’ve said that, what do you say next? The pursuit is then in the joy of hearing themselves express existing insights. I think “writing existing truths, but in your own voice”, is a step on the way to originality. (And a step backwards from originality back into cliché, because progress isn’t linear!) I find that the truth isn’t pessimism or optimism but something in between, and it’s in that “in between” where creativity, originality and new voices are found. Men in their early 20s—like I was not too long ago—when they discover sad truths, they’re like, “This is what the world has been hiding from me! THIS is the truth, not everything I’ve learned up until now! I’d better alert everyone that all their endeavors are a waste.” But once you’ve started reading, you’re supposed to KEEP reading—because there is not one truth, there is instead a perhaps infinite set of truths (or potential truths—we don’t have enough information to know conclusively one way or another.) Whenever people say others don’t like them because they “tell it like it is”, or they’re just “too honest”, the mistake is their naivety in thinking they would have the authority to “tell it like it is.” Thinking they are “too honest” when in fact they’re not honest enough. “More honest” would be to add, “But that’s just my opinion: what the fuck do I know?” The problem is probably that they have chosen a particular truth to fixate upon. For example, yes we will all die one day, but we have important stuff to do before then. I don’t see how you plan on being part of society unless you share that opinion. We can debate what’s more or less important, but if you say it’s all a crock, we can’t really have a chat. I learned that from Joe Rogan’s interview with David Pakman, where he says something like, ‘We can debate how much or how little to tax people, but if you claim that “All taxation is theft”, I don’t know how we’re supposed to have a dialogue.’ Anti-natalists don’t typically want to die by suicide because they think it would increase the suffering, so they might archly raise an eyebrow at my suggestion to participate in life, pointing out how absurd it is that, in order to do so, they’re forced to buy into the delusion that there is something worth doing with life. Maybe that’s what you think—but I’d invite you to assume that there’s something you’re missing. Something you don’t know yet. Because no matter whether it’s philosophy or politics or whatever, no progress was ever made by presuming you knew everything already. You can learn your way out of pain. Me, for example, I spend a lot of time thinking about a pair of chemistry teachers I had who shouted at me and kicked me out of their class sometimes just for asking a question. And how I managed to pursue my interest in chemistry in spite of their lack of encouragement! Or a teacher who brought me to the front of the class and shamed me for swearing after another kid had flung me onto the ground. That kid went unpunished--NO ONE has a keener sense of injustice than children.) Instances and situations that hurt more, they naturally draw more attention than the rest, because there’s something there that needs fixed. I think your brain holds onto these things because it’s saying, “Remember how this felt and for the love of God, don’t do this to anyone else!” If you touch a hot iron, your hand springs away from it. You don’t keep your hand on it and scream, “This is the realest thing ever!!!!” And by and large that’s what we’re doing to one another—progressing, bar the occasional inevitable fuckup. Think of “better or worse”, rather than “Mistake, mistake! Error, error! Failure, failure!” If all I talked about was our inevitable demise, I might not be wrong, but you’d stop inviting me for dinner (if you were paying attention. I’d wager a lot of people aren’t and they just like to fill seats. “I got TEN WHOLE PEOPLE to come to my dinner party! What? Ten GOOD people? That’s a big ask…”) Maybe you’re stuck in a mental state of rumination: there are too many bad things in the world and too much pain. You feel too much shame about your past and you have done too many bad things to be redeemable. The solution isn’t to necessarily refute the truths in this. It’s absolutely true that history is a shitshow and there are significant portions of waste and suffering in any ordinary life, and you are imperfect and have fucked up, and others have screwed you over. BUT these don’t necessarily have to lead to the typical easy and deadening conclusions: everyone is only in anything for themselves, you’re the worst, nothing is even worth trying, consciousness is a mistake and life is a cruel, cosmic joke! We’ll ignore these conclusions but not bother to refute the truths that led us to them. We will instead dilute these truths with competing truths. In meditation you can change your mental state just by drawing focus on something that has been there the whole time: your unacknowledged breathing, the feel of wind on your skin… Similarly you can change your mental landscape by lining it with more and more truths! You don’t succeed at everything, and this isn’t where you expected to be, but you’re still here and a handful of people care about you—inevitably doing so in their own way, with the information that they have about you—which is both less than the info you have on yourself and also a different set of info, from another perspective. Therefore they don’t care for you in the way that you would care for yourself if you were someone else, but, hey ho, what can be done about that? Maybe they don’t see what you believe to be your good qualities, but they probably see other good qualities that you don’t. And remember, they are all as malleable as you are: first impressions are unfortunately important, because they contain so little info. People change their minds. They will surprise you and themselves. There is more going on than any one of us can see. If you accept this “for worse”, you have to accept it “for better.” There are so many people on the planet whose actions can only be explained by selflessness or kindness for its own sake. (And the more I learn about these people, the more I discover horror in their past—maybe it’s always there, maybe it always stokes the fires of excessive kindness. Well then we would have to be less miserable about its existence.) An unbelievable amount of progress has been made. There is time for silliness! There is an abundance of artistic genius all around, never more plentiful or available than now! There are parks and dogs and cats. There’s sunlight! Grief is enormous, but it tapers asymptotically to nothing more than a weird feeling every other Sunday—or something like that. And the experience of having gone through it makes our remaining days more intensely alive. Love is real and not only more available than any of our less realistic goals, but way more satisfying to have in our lives!! If you believe this, why, the capacity for joy on the planet is positively incalculable! Lol good luck humanity :D

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