Monkey Mind: Review and Free Giveaway

Product DetailsMonkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety by Daniel Smith

Release date: 2012 / 224 pages

Synopsis (from Anxiety once paralyzed Daniel Smith over a roast beef sandwich, convincing him that a choice between ketchup and barbeque sauce was as dire as that between life and death. It has caused him to chew his cuticles until they bled, wear sweat pads in his armpits, and confess his sexual problems to his psychotherapist mother. It has dogged his days, threatened his sanity, and ruined his relationships. In Monkey Mind, Smith articulates what it is like to live with anxiety, defanging the disease with humor, traveling through its demonic layers, and evocatively expressing its self-destructive absurdities and painful internal coherence. With honesty and wit, he exposes anxiety as a pudgy, weak-willed wizard behind a curtain of dread and tames what has always seemed to him, and to the tens of millions of others who suffer from anxiety, a terrible affliction.

Review: Prior to the first chapter of Daniel Smith’s memoir of an anxious mind is a section titled “why I am qualified to write this book” which describes his walk to a therapist’s office: a mental flagellation that ends with the therapist asking if he can tape their session, presumably as a case study of just how bad anxiety can become.

Smith then explores what he believes may be the cause of his anxiety: the loss of his virginity involving a dysfunctional coworker and an unfortunate threesome. The images are startling and repugnant, but the reader, thoroughly disarmed by Smith’s humor in the first section, is reassured that even during his darkest moments, redemption is possible.

After the first chapter, the memoir is loosely chronologically, moving from hilarious moments from Smith’s childhood with his psychotherapist mother (It was not unusual, when I was young, for a procedure as routine and noninvasive as a strep culture to set me off like a pig in a barn fire) into his hard-earned successful present life as a writer, husband, and father who has learned to live with his anxiety as an amusing, if not entirely welcome houseguest (If this all sounds melodramatic, well that, too, isn’t a bad metaphor for anxiety – as a kind of drama queen of the mind).

Beyond the entertaining vignettes, Monkey Mind is a serious exploration of an affliction that affects most people to a certain extent and provides helpful insights as well as the reassurance that even the most neurotic are in good company.

Thank you to Shelf Awareness for asking me to read and review this! Interested in a winning a free copy — leave me a comment!


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9 Responses to Monkey Mind: Review and Free Giveaway

  1. Diane Castiglione says:

    Sounds like this is quite and interesting book. Would like to win to read.
    Thank you for the nice review on it.

  2. ellie says:

    thanks for this unique book and review.

  3. Cindy Stiever says:

    The review of this book reminded me of several of my high school readers who intensely suffer with anxiety issues. From time to time most of us struggle with decisions – many of which have profound consequences in our daily and future lives. This book, may help us to better understand what they experience – and may help them to reflect on their own intense anxiety issues. If this is a book that might also appeal and help teens, please consider my request for a copy.

    Thank you for a great blog!

  4. Carl says:

    What a great-sounding book. Can’t we all relate to Daniel’s condition to some degree? Thanks for the review and for offering a copy. I’d love to win it.

  5. Teralee ElBasri says:

    Sounds like an interesting read – especially as someone who has a family history of this issue!

  6. Mary says:

    First hand experience is always best to explain or help others understand what you are feeling. Not a good way to know about a condition, but a good way to help others through it or to make them not feel so alone. Thanks for the great review.

  7. Michael says:

    Life seems to be just one huge knot of anxiety as it is, from the time one is born to the time one dies.

  8. Nirmala says:

    I’d love to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. Theresa Cain says:

    Anxiety is so difficult to deal with. I’ve had my own share of it. I wonder how many others struggle with this that we have no outward indication of. This sounds like it would be good to read, perhaps difficult as well. I’d love the chance to win a copy.

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