Book Review: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman


 

I find that, often, books start off slow for me and pick up pace about halfway, then end with a bang. Not always, but often. I also know that, really, that shouldn’t be the case. A book is supposed to start off great and keep the reader engaged. Anyways. I digress.

This book started off fantastic. I was impressed with the quickness of my commitment to Anxious People. I loved so much about it. I was surprised to see the momentum fizzled into a slow burn about halfway through because of the third-person perspective and the constant diversion to backstory. But it was artful and so I kept going and appreciated the choice to tell the story in this way.

The author, Fredrik Backman, did an excellent job of using the third person narrative to really feel like a story-teller, jumping from backstory to side story and back to the main story, which at this point, I have trouble saying what specifically it was about.

Nevertheless, it was an absolute pleasure to read, and a lovely story that cultivates an appreciation for the story-tellers nuances. I can’t wait to read another.  

The Anniversary of my PTSD

One year ago, today, I almost died.

I didn’t look great…

It feels weird to say that. It feels like an exaggeration. But it’s not. I’ve spent the past ten days reflecting. Almost obsessively, and maybe it’s PTSD because I’ve walked over the events in my head, step-by-step as if reliving it, over and over, and so yes, obsessive and post-traumatic stress seems to fit. But I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to reflect on an anniversary of a major life event, so I’ll say the “disorder” part of PTSD isn’t quite right.

It was November 7th, 2019 when I went in for a very routine surgery. And by routine, I don’t mean to undermine the seriousness, and the recovery period, and the pain and mental trauma that can go along with the surgery, a hysterectomy, I just mean to say, it’s fairly common. I know six other people personally, plus now myself, who have had this surgery and I don’t think I can say that about any other surgery that people may have. So, I consider it routine, or at least common.

I was afraid before the surgery. But I wasn’t afraid of dying. And after the surgery, I was in intense pain, but I was happy. I had really needed this surgery and I was on my way to recovering and the thought of the life I would lead after recovery kept my spirits high. I did everything right, I went home and took my medications at the right time every day, I exercised lightly, in small amounts, by walking around my dining room table. I was feeling better every single day and thought I was doing great.

Ten days later, on November 17th, 2019, I was sitting on my couch next to my husband while my kids took turns playing on the Oculus. We watched them laugh and tease each other and at that exact moment I was distracted by my phone, looking down at the screen I felt something go wrong. I ran to the bathroom and felt immediate terror as I saw the dark red blood pouring out of my body. I was hemorrhaging and I knew it was bad immediately. My husband’s face said he was in shock as he told me to calm down and I told him I didn’t want to die.

We didn’t call 911. We didn’t want to end up at a hospital that wasn’t my doctor’s hospital. So instead he drove me and the kids to our hospital and the whole time I bled. When I first got to the emergency room the nurse didn’t look too concerned but the ER doctor looked terrified. He wasn’t going to touch me, he didn’t want to make it worse, he would wait for my doctor to get there. At this point what I remember most was my youngest daughter, seven at the time, announced, this would be the day that Mommy almost died. That we’d all remember this as the day Mommy almost died. And it struck me, that the thought of almost dying was acceptable to her brain, but the thought of me actually dying wasn’t. And that’s how she was processing it, that I could only almost die. Thank God she was right. I only almost died.

At that point, my husband thought it was time to usher the three kids out of the emergency room and my mother-in-law appeared like an angel to help.

And then the bleeding got so much worse.

I can never explain that feeling perfectly, as it felt, as I was lying there in the bed, light-headed, with the anesthesiologist leaning against the wall, waiting to put me under as soon as he got word, my husband and mother-in-law holding my hand. The disbelief of what I was feeling, the blood spurting as I’d seen in movies, when people were dying, felt like I was swimming in my own insides. If you lie in a bathtub, you know that water belongs outside of you. But when you lie in your own blood, and you know it belongs inside of you, that it’s vital to you, and that it’s still coming out of you, and it’s so much you feel like you’re swimming it, you feel helplessly over.

That moment was traumatic. That moment I couldn’t even let myself fully remember afterward because I thought just remembering it too well might take me back to it. I’d close my eyes and involuntarily feel it and be terrified, my eyes would fly open and I’d panic that I would start bleeding again, that maybe I was supposed to die, and my body just remembered that fact. And so, as I sit here and type this and I see I can let myself remember, I know, I’ve healed some. In my trauma.

The last thing I remember when they wheeled me back to the surgery room was the look of horror on the nurse’s face that was gathering up all of the paper tissue that they had kept stuffing around me to try and soak up the blood. Her arms filled with them, she looked at someone out of my vision and asked what she should do with all of it. The way she said it told me it was more than she thought it should be, so much so she didn’t know what to do with it. And all I could think was, “put me to sleep, put me to sleep, put me to sleep.” I was terrified. And then I was out.

When I woke up, I felt clean. I couldn’t believe I was okay. I specifically remember being shocked by not feeling the blood gushing out of me, no longer surrounding me, and then the next thought being modern medicine is absolutely amazing. I was elated and blissful. And then I crashed.

That’s actually when I almost died.

I had no blood. Not enough at least. The male nurse who had been holding my hand, trying to wake me from the anesthesia stopped talking to me and started talking to someone else. I was fading and my brain couldn’t focus. There were several people in the room, but all my brain could grasp was this man, because he was touching me. And if you, the reader, take anything away from this I hope it’s that if you ever find yourself in the position where a loved one is slipping and they can’t speak or don’t seem coherent, hold their hand. Touch them. A step away may be too far.

The man yelled for an epi, and a woman’s voice floated from somewhere in the room asking me about insurance. Yes. That’s right. I was crashing and she wanted to know what insurance I had. Remember that, you know, when you’re considering your own healthcare or maybe voting. Your health insurance may be life or death. In America. I couldn’t answer her. My brain couldn’t find the answer though it was trying SO HARD. I remember how hard I was trying to make my brain answer her. It was trying very hard. But it couldn’t. I don’t know if she found the information in her computer or decided I should be cared for anyway, I don’t know any of that, but it still blows my mind today that at that moment she was asking.

The man, the one holding my hand and asking for an epi, was saying “look at her lips,” and then he was touching my toes and saying, “look at the color of her toes.”

My heart was sinking, I couldn’t move or speak, but I knew if my toes and lips were discolored, and this man was panicked, it was probably bad.

The next thing I remember is getting the blood transfusion started, and then vomiting. While I was vomiting was my darkest moment of despair, I thought it was over and I was dying, I thought my body wasn’t taking the transfusion and I even thought I was bleeding again. I started crying. But in actuality, I was coming back to life. It was before that transfusion that I had been dying, once I stopped throwing up the male nurse held my hand again while the transfusion started bringing color back to my lips and toes, and he talked to me about random things and he kept me calm.

One of my transfusions. These take a lot longer than I would have thought.

Eventually, they decided I could be moved to a room and before I left, the man told me I was going to be okay. He said he’d seen both people that would be okay and people that wouldn’t, and I’d be okay. And he was right. I got two blood transfusions and other liquids and painkillers and more days in the hospital and when my husband brought me spaghetti it was the best spaghetti I’d ever tasted in my life.

I went home eventually and went through the holidays in a blur, family and friends were the best support system, and then I finally could put on a pair of jeans, and then I started taking my kids out for short amounts of time. I took my oldest to a basketball game and then I got sick. And so, did a lot of the kids on that team. And then we saw them shut down that school because a kid there got Covid-19 and then people started shutting down everything. But we had already gotten sick. I didn’t know if I had Covid, I had no fever, just a cough that started with a sore throat, there were no tests at that time, but we isolated immediately. My cough lasted forever while the kids got better immediately, and I tried to tell others to be careful, and finally, I got diagnosed with Asthma and on inhalers. And we moved. And I published my first Indie Book. And now it’s a year later and I’m okay.

I’m okay.

So, what did I learn? There’s a difference between living and surviving. But sometimes you have to survive to get anymore living done. But do try to get as much living in, even if it’s while you’re surviving, because you might not make it. Enjoy today. Be happy. Life is so fucking fragile. Sometimes we forget, but it is. It’s so fucking fragile. So be thankful. For yours. And every life you love. While it’s here. One day it will be gone. It could be today, while you’re sitting on your couch looking at your phone, or tomorrow, and honestly, if it’s later than that, be fucking thankful. Because life is so fucking fragile.

Four generations in one photo… #thankful

Halloween is Coming! Who’s ready?

I want to say that Halloween doesn’t scare me at all, but this year, as a parent of three children who are expecting it to be as magnificent as it is every year, I’m a little scared. I want to hide in my room with a blanket and a book and pretend the day doesn’t exist. But that’s not really an option.

So tell me!! What are you other moms doing??

We’ve talked about putting a folding table at the end of the driveway with candy and hand sanitizer while we sit on the porch and wave. Make our kiddos wear masks and canvas a much smaller area than they have in the past. With the supervision of course. Hopefully find homes that are doing similar things to my own covid friendly candy table. And make them wash their hands and Lysol their candy when they get home??

I don’t know. This is stressful, people. If you don’t have kids in your home this year, grab my book and hide. That’s what I’d do.

6 more days to Pub Day!!

Finishing touches on this baby today!! Less than a week until Pub Day!!! 🥳🎊🥳

It’s so surreal holding my book baby in my hands. I’m completely addicted to this high, and I’m never going back. You can expect a hundred more books from me. 😂🤷‍♀️📚📖📓📚✍️⌨️🖥👩‍💻

MOVING FORWARD OPTIONAL
By, Audrey Destin

When a woman loses everything she loves, moving forward doesn’t just happen, it’s a choice.

In a society that rewards ambition and ladder climbing, Emily is homeless. Her ambition is dead.

Dan’s daughter is missing. Emily ran away a year ago after he stumbled into the living room drunk for the last time. Now sober, he spends his days trying to turn that wrong around. Dan can’t stop.

David is losing his home, and his shoe store is barely hanging on, while the market is crashing. His own life is a mess, but the woman he picks up on the side of the road is a great distraction. Emily is beautiful, captivating, and worse off than himself. He takes her to dinner and then on a camping trip. He can’t get enough until he realizes her secrets may be more than he can take.

A women’s fiction about how one lives in a world that continues to turn, without the ambition to go on.

This is Emily’s story. Moving forward is optional.

Book Review: One by One by, Ruth Ware

A tech company selling a social media music app has come to the mountains to debate the possibility of a buyout.

The premise of Ruth Ware’s latest novel, One by One, has all the promising things a classic suspense thriller needs: a group of people that aren’t particularly likable, a remote location, and a circumstance keeping any of them from getting away as people begin to be knocked off.

I scream. I do the only thing I can, even though it is stupid. I fall to my knees with my arms over my head, as if that pathetic gesture might protect me.”

Is it weird for me to say, I wish more people would have died? I don’t know. With the set up that we got for this book, I expected it to feel more like characters we knew were running for their lives and then being knocked off one by one, but that wasn’t the feel I got actually reading this book. Instead, only a couple of people died, and we never felt their fear or suspicions.

The book was a quick read and well written. Nice escapism, easy to get into. Just lacked a bit of the suspense I was hoping for. But I love Ruth Ware and I’ll be back for the next one.

First Review of Moving Forward Optional is in!

I’m so excited to say the first review for Moving Forward Optional is in and @outsidewithbooks on Instagram loved it! Yay! ❤️

Check out her full review on Insta HERE

The nerves I had going into sending out the ARCs (advanced reader copies) were out of this world. It’s so scary knowing that you’re asking for honest reviews of your book child from people who read as many books a year as I do, or more. 😂 Because I really respect these reviewers and I know they’re going to tell the truth, because their reputation depends on it.

So, the elation I felt when @outsidewithbooks messaged me and told me she truly loved it, was some of the best feel goods I’ve ever had.

Thank you, book reviewers!! ❤️

How to receive an ARC

Hi, Readers! This post is specifically for those who have requested a Reviewer Copy of my book, in exchange for an honest review on Amazon and Goodreads.

If you have a Kindle, it’s pretty easy! If not, no worries, there’s an app for that! No, seriously, there’s a Kindle app.

Once you have your eReader, log into your Amazon account to add me as an approved sender to your device. The directions are pictured above.

1) Sign in

2) click the Accounts & Lists drop down menu

3) pick Content and Devices

4) click the header Preferences

5) choose Personal Document Settings

6) click add a new approved email address

My email is Audrey_Destin@yahoo.com

After that I can send you the ARC directly to your kindle email (which you can find in the same section if you don’t know it)

So send me your email, and I’ll send you your ARC! Thanks again for being a part of my Reviewer Team! The book world couldn’t function without you Reviewers. Honest reviews make the book world go round. ❤️ Thank You!

The Age of Witches Book Review

The Age of Witches is an 1890’s historical fiction, with both magic and feminism woven in. The hardback is 437 pages, a bit on the longer side because the writing is charming and decorated with descriptions of herbs and food. But don’t go into it thinking that means it’s going to be fast-paced. It’s very much a slow burn.

“That’s a silly question. Women can’t manage their own money. I will not hand over your inheritance just to see you fritter it away.”

Annis is a strong-minded young lady with ambition and determination, in a world that expects her to have neither. Her only love is horses, but her love doesn’t matter because she is a thing to be owned and bread as well. And besides, breeding horses isn’t ladylike.

“No more,” he said coldly. “I’m not going to argue with a hysterical girl.”

This book reminds me of Jane Eyre in a way, a woman so clearly stuffed into a time where she doesn’t seem to belong. However, Annis has strength, she discovers, from her bloodline. A relative hung two hundred years ago as a witch.

I recommend this book to those who are into herbs and plants, a bit of magic, and feminism in a time when feminism doesn’t exist.

Kindle Pre-Order Available!

Head to my Amazon Author Page to pre-order Moving Forward Optional for your Kindle today!!! ❤️🥳💕🥳❤️
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The Kindle pub date is set for October 13th 2020 and you can pre-order any time between now and then!
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I’m so excited to set this baby free and I hope you all love it!! ❤️🥰📚
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