October Highly Recommended Read
This month’s recommended book is I Never Said I Loved You by Rhik Samadder.
The reviews for this book were so glowing I could not ignore it. As a writer, when you read “The Sunday Times Bestseller List”, your ears perk up especially as it is a memoir. I still remember my first and only literary agent who took me on briefly and painfully dropped me saying I could not write a memoir. I was in his eyes of little significance, a nobody! With this wound not quite healed, I got the book wondering who the heck was/is Rhik Samadder. The book is about depression which I was keen to learn more about.
With this in mind, I read the book on three levels: (1) professional development, (2) personal development and (3) development of my writing craft.
The author is a British man of Indian heritage who describes his experience of depression and how he came to understand what it is, where it comes from, how it impacted him and other people in his life and how he ultimately came out of it. It’s a story about a journey through life or until his 30s told with heart and clever gifted stand-up comedy humour. I loved it and here’s why I am recommending it.
3 Reasons for liking this book
Reason #1: It made me laugh out loud in spite of its seriousness
The author skilfully captures the banality of some of the things we strive for – status, career, recognition, and fame – showing us that what we really crave is love and connection. Considering the seriousness of something like depression, the way this book is written is indeed a major achievement. Rhik, as we learn, has had plenty of time to hone in his craft at actor’s school and later at the Guardian. Oh yes, I’ve read this masterful sarcasm and heartfelt genuineness before in one or two articles he penned before.
I admire the way he handles pain, incredibly adverse experiences and major existential angst in a funny, slightly detached, deeply perceptive, incredibly wise, and often self-deprecating manner. It is easily relatable making it harder not to like him. The book is also incredibly hopeful! And while the author writes about his childhood, the early 20s and 30s, I think people of all ages will be able to relate to his experience and find it empowering. I did. The temping job section had me in stitches.
Reason #2: Life-affirming nature of this book
This book is an inspiring reminder to give oneself permission to be real, speak the truth, taste life 100%, experiment and say Yes! to life experiences more often.
In his search for meaning, himself and a way out of his darkness and the things that clearly haunt him, the author gives us an inspiring example of how to live more fully and authentically. I found myself contemplating how often in an attempt to spare others’ feelings or indeed our own, we choose to put a nice wrapper on things, stay silent and the cost this may have on our emotional and mental wellbeing.
This book is a heartfelt and refreshing reminder that to live often means to feel hurt, rejected, and lost and to hurt others even if we don’t intend on it. To live we have to be willing and courageous enough to dive into the experience of life. It may not be very pretty but only then can we learn about ourselves and each other.
Reading this book one can’t help but realize that to find ourselves we often have to get lost. To discover our talents we have to give ourselves space to not care about our careers. That to discover love we often have to experience what it’s like to break hearts and be heartbroken. In the end, what matters most, is our ability to never give up trying to find our path. And if we can distance ourselves from what is happening for long enough to create the space for reflection, we may just discover life is a rich, multifaceted and incredible experience one would be nuts to end prematurely.
Reason #3: The many pearls of wisdom and tips
The whole book is peppered with wise sentences and observations that remind you that life has not picked on you especially! There is a great deal of good advice in here for how to handle relationships, say Yes to opportunities, find balance, manage mood, and look after oneself. Three of my personal favourite truths are:
- You can have anything but not everything.
- Getting what you want will not make you happy but not getting it won’t make you sad for very long either.
- Energy efficiency is not just for lightbulbs.
This is an honest book that talks directly about depression, self-harm, and abuse. While it is life-affirming and super funny in parts, there are three chapters at the start that I found tough to read. They may be triggering for other readers. If you decide to read this book, please don’t stop there! Keep going to the end.
Reading this book demands courage but you will be well rewarded for it. Your mind and heart will develop a far greater appreciation for:
- how many people may suffer inside in spite of appearing a picture of success on the outside,
- just how painful and raw finding oneself can be and what a heroic journey we’re all on,
- how hard it can be to talk about how we feel and how critical this is for our health.
I am recommending this book in spite of the heavy and dark topics because it is a life-affirming book. It shows us that no matter how bad things may feel within, there is a seedling within us that is always seeking light and healing. We must look for it.
Do you need help?
At Make Time Count we pride ourselves on helping clients find their most authentic and self-affirming self. Moving forward in life when there is a great battle going on within us is hard work. Learning to align heart and mind, honouring the needs of the physical body and listening to the voice of the spirit within helps us move forward with greater agency and wholeness.
We also encourage you to sign up for our monthly newsletter, read our blogs or have a look at these extra resources.
- Surviving your 20s – A Guardian special from 2016 but in this respect little has changed.
- Surviving your 40s as a woman – NY Times Opinion piece
- Life gets better after the 50s – a perspective from Jonathan Rauch, author of The Happiness Curve book
Whatever you do. Keep experimenting and never give up!