REVIEW: What Doesn't Kill You: Fifteen Stories of Survival, Elitsa Dermendzhiyska #BLOGTOUR

Monday, 8 June 2020

REVIEW: What Doesn't Kill You: Fifteen Stories of Survival, Elitsa Dermendzhiyska BLOG TOUR graphic

An explorer spends a decade preparing for an expedition to the South Pole; what happens when you live for a goal, but once it’s been accomplished, you discover it’s not enough? A successful broadcast journalist ends up broke, drunk and sleeping rough; what makes alcohol so hard to resist despite its ruinous consequences? A teenage girl tries to disappear by starving herself; what is this force that compels so many women to reduce their size so drastically?
In this essay collection, writers share the struggles that have shaped their lives – loss, depression, addiction, anxiety, trauma, identity and others. But as they take you on a journey to the darkest recesses of their mind, the authors grapple with challenges that haunt us all. 

The world is shit right now. I know, I should put it in softer and more book-reviewer-appropriate terms, but the sheer shittiest of the world prevents me from doing so. People are dying, being killed by both a global pandemic and the people who were sworn to protect them, and every time you turn on the news or switch over to social media, the world inches closer to complete and total darkness. It is easy, perhaps more now than ever before, to allow that darkness to creep inside and monopolise the space inside all of our heads. But, don’t worry, you are far from alone in doing so.
What Doesn't Kill You: Fifteen Stories of Survival, a collection put together and edited by the marvellous Elitsa Dermendzhiyska, though written before the mayhem that is the current state of the world, could not have been published at a more appropriate time. It is a testament to the collective trauma of grasping for control in an uncontrollable world: the addictions, the depression, the panic and the trauma. Fifteen authors/writers/of-the-moment celebrities lay their souls bare and write with a rawness, bravery and honesty that shows that, even in their darkest places, there is still a capacity for forward momentum.
Even if that momentum is just managing to pick up a pen and write.
As someone who has lived through decades of all-encompassing mental illness, it was refreshing (and almost weirdly comforting) to see the worst of people’s demons come alive in these pages. Mental illness, as anyone who has lived through it (or indeed, is still living with it) knows, is not a cute Instagram aesthetic: it is painful ugliness which a majority of people would so quickly turn their gaze away from.
And, it is only by the honesty of writers like those in this collection, that the real, non-sugar-coated plight of those living with mental illness can be confronted and explored.

Thanks to Unbound and Anne Cater for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Head on over to for this book, as well as all of the others featured in my reviews, complete with the added bonuses of free worldwide shipping and bringing a little joy to my life.

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