Thirty Things I Love About Myself – Radhika Sanghani

Published By: Headline
Pages: 400
Released On: 20/01/2022

Nina didn’t plan to spend her thirtieth birthday in jail, yet here she is in her pyjamas, locked in a holding cell. There’s no wi-fi, no wine, no carbs – and no one to celebrate with.

Unfortunately, it gives Nina plenty of time to reflect on how screwed up her life is, She’s just broken up with her fiancé, and now has to move back into her childhood home to live with her depressed older brother and their uptight, traditional Indian mother. Her career as a freelance journalist isn’t going in the direction she wants, and her friends are too busy being successful to hang out with her.

Just as Nina falls into despair, a book lands in her cell: How To Fix Your Shitty Life By Loving Yourself. It must be destiny. With literally nothing left to lose, Nina makes a life-changing decision to embark on a self-love journey. By her next birthday, she’s going to find thirty things she loves about herself.

*****

*Contains Minor Plot Theme Spoilers*

Thanks to Headline for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.

I kept hearing about this book, and with so much universal praised, I jumped at the chance to read an early copy.

I found the topics of depression and suicide were written with such empathy, you can feel there’s such heart there; these topics aren’t just there for pure entertainment, there’s a real message there. Likewise with the depictions of racism. I found them so cruel and upsetting, but sadly, so real, but they’re so sensitively handled that I feel Radhika must have had similar experience herself – which I desperately, desperately hope isn’t true.

I think in anyone else’s hands, the topics of astrology and star signs and self love and “finding yourself” could have felt a bit twee, a bit pushy, and a bit annoying. But they’re a real standout plot point in this book for me. I’ve never read too much into things like that, and often felt a bit blasé about them, but they’re written so well that it’s actually peaked an interest for me.

I can fully identify with the plights of a single, sometimes unemployed, thirty-year-old (ok I’m not 30 until next year) woman, who has an older brother, has anxious and depressive thoughts, who lives in her mother’s spare room, and has a father who is no longer with us. She may be of a different culture and background, but she was so familiar it was quite scary.

This book is funny, sad, real, heartwarming, cuddly, thoughtful, harsh, hard, and transformative. This may be a fictional book, a fictional story, not a self-help book. But I wager anyone to read this and not feel improved and enlightened. It’s as positive and life affirming as any book, fiction or not, out there today.

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