cover image My Mess Is a Bit of a Life: Adventures in Anxiety

My Mess Is a Bit of a Life: Adventures in Anxiety

Georgia Pritchett. HarperOne, $27.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-320637-3

British comedy writer Pritchett debuts with a collection of zippy and poignant anecdotes that describe living at the crossroads of imagination and anxiety. As a child, she wondered if there were monsters under her bed—and, if so, were they comfortable in all that dust? But also, what if she was the Messiah, headed toward a violent death? Indeed, in Pritchett’s eyes, life isn’t simply terrifying—it’s nonsensical, as demonstrated when a friend is shuffled off to an ex-gay ministry after the two of them kiss: “The church wanted to exorcise me [as well],” she writes, “but that didn’t sound like much fun, so I said no.” As she grows up, her tendency to understate eats away at her, and her anxiety functions as a “Dark Overlord Beaver.” She sprinkles in more serious moments: a mentally ill man threatening her brother with a knife, or hearing racist taunts when she’s out with a boyfriend of color. The narrative becomes more intense (though still funny) as she confronts sexism in the entertainment industry (she writes for Succession and wrote for Veep), infertility and miscarriage, her partner’s cancer scare, and her sons’ autism diagnoses. The delivery’s delightful and as finely tuned as poetry or a tight stand-up routine. Her torment, as well as her joys, are readers’ gain. Agent: Deborah Schneider, Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners. (Feb.)