BOOK REVIEW: JEAN HANNAH EDELSTEIN – THIS REALLY ISN’T ABOUT YOU

I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages. I asked for it for Christmas but my partner Ryan forgot but I had two gift cards for Waterstones so I grabbed a copy straight away. This is a beautiful book. It’s probably one of the best memoirs I’ve read.

So, what’s it about? Here’s the blurb:

In 2014 I moved back to the United States after living abroad for fourteen years, my whole adult life, because my father was dying from cancer.
Six weeks after I arrived in New York City, my father died.
Six months after that I learned that I had inherited the gene that would cause me cancer too.

When Jean Hannah Edelstein’s world overturned she was forced to confront some of the big questions in life: How do we cope with grief? How does living change when we realize we’re not invincible? Does knowing our likely fate make it harder or easier to face the future? How do you motivate yourself to go on your OkCupid date when you’re struggling with your own mortality?

Written in her inimitable, wry and insightful voice, Jean Hannah Edelstein’s memoir is by turns heart-breaking, hopeful and yet also disarmingly funny. This Really Isn’t About You is a book about finding your way in life. Which is to say, it’s a book about discovering you are not really in control of that at all.

I mean it when I say this is one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read. This memoir has everything a good memoir should have for me. It’s wonderfully written, it’s heartfelt, it’s funny, it’s rooted in reality and it’s so effortless and feels as if you are reading a work of fiction. Edelstein is such a profound writer. Once I picked this book up to read before bed one night, I literally couldn’t stop turning the pages as if reading it in a single breath.

There are a lot of themes throughout this book and a lot of them are very emotional and struck a chord with me when I was reading it. This memoir explores death, grief, love, family, growing up, figuring out who we are, it’s about learning how to adapt and a lot more. If you have previously lost a loved one, this will help a lot, it did for me. Edelstein’s voice is succinct, clear and like I said, effortless. I was (and still am) how Edelstein is able to write about something so heartbreaking but something so hilarious the next. She puts the magic in the mundane and really brings the little details to life.

This book is just bloody brilliant and I think I’ve already found one of my favourite reads of the year – yes, in January! I think if you’re a fan of Nora Ephron’s writing or Dolly Alderton’s brilliant Everything I Know About Love, you will love this too. A beautiful, profound memoir that you can read in one sitting and will leave a big impact on you. I honestly can’t recommend this book enough. Just magic. Pure, unsentimental, magic.

Have you read This Really Isn’t About You? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! Also, I’ve really been reading a lot of and loving this sort of book – memoir/essays and was just wondering, have you got any recommendations? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you,

Corey.

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