How to Weep in Public: Feeble Offerings on Depression from One Who Knows

Jacqueline Novak. Three Rivers, $15 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-8041-3970-0
Comedian Novak explores her personal experience with depression and offers tongue-in-cheek advice for fellow “depressos” in this humorous, if somewhat grating, memoir. She traces the roots of her disease from her childhood, through her teenage years (often spent listening to motivational speaker Tony Robbins cassette tapes alone in her car), to being fired from her first post-grad job at a boutique advertising agency after sleeping for 28 hours and missing a day of work. She offers solidarity and support for those suffering from depression, and insight into the self-defeating brain of a depresso for outsiders. Novak is funniest when riffing on self-help platitudes, advising readers on topics such as the easiest way to get out of bed in the morning (sleep with a wedge pillow so that there’s less vertical distance to travel) and how to weep in public (avoid making your face puffy by bending over so that the tears fall straight down to the ground). Her writing is full of unexpected metaphors (college depression, she writes, “has many tentacles, probably knotted around your cheap furniture, suctions clinging to your elfa bins”), unapologetically offensive humor, and a graphic, unsparing description of colonics and the Master Cleanse, but adds levity to the daunting topic of depression. For anyone feeling down in the dumps, a dose of Novak will help mitigate the pain. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/18/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-0-8041-3971-7
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