The Joy of Small Things – Hannah Jane Parkinson

Published By: Guardian
Pages: 256
Released On: 02/06/2022

Hannah Jane Parkinson is a specialist in savouring the small pleasures of life. She revels in her fluffy dressing gown (‘like bathing in marshmallow’), finds calm in solo cinema trips, is charmed by the personalities of fonts (‘you’ll never see Comic Sans on a funeral notice’), celebrates pockets and gleefully abandons a book she isn’t enjoying. Parkinson’s everyday exaltations – selected from her immensely successful Guardian column – will utterly delight.

*****

This is a gorgeous book. Positively wrapped up in a 200+ page package.

By nature, I am a pessimistic person. I always think of the worse and then I’m either prepared for it, or I’ll be pleasantly surprised when it’s good. I don’t see the joy in everything, that’s just how my brain works. And I must admit to being wary of people who are constantly positive and seeing the best in everything. But this book is beautiful. It’s meant to be positive. It’s not over the top sappy. It is literally the little things we overlook – a good dressing gown, a hot bath, a new haircut, counting the stars – and it really put me in a good mood.

Each item covers 2-3 pages which is nice. It means you can dip in and out if you want, or if you’re like me, you can just plough through with a smile on your face.

I must say, her section about the pleasure of a cup of tea was so accurate. I took it as a sign to put the book down and get myself a cuppa and a custard cream biscuit – the latter of which my dog wanted to share.

She has a way of writing which makes you feel as if you’re having a chat with a girl friend. She’s so natural and friendly and I’m sure that came across in her original columns this book is based on. I found myself nodding and agreeing with probably 95% of everything she said. There are some things I’ll fight over (an Aero chocolate bar? A waste of time? Give over!) It was also surprisingly funny. That’s not to say I was expecting it to be miserable, but I expected it to be a nice light hearted look at things she enjoys. Which it is. But with added giggles. Which are a joyful thing in themselves.

This was initially written during the pandemic and the lockdowns, and considering we’re not long out of it, it’s incredible how quickly we can forget about the little things that made the lockdown easier.

It is easy to read, not strenuous, not controversial (bar the Aero comment), it’s giddy and pleasant and really good fun.

There’s a few illustrations in it. I would have liked more because they’re so lovely. It’s for my own greediness really that I want more, maybe one for each thing to just give it that added sparkle.

I think this would be a lovely book to gift someone for a birthday or Christmas, or just, because. And I plan to do just that. It should be a book that makes the rounds. It gets lent to friends, who lend it to friends who lend it to friends. The more used it is, the more loved it is, the better.

I do feel she needs to release a new edition though which includes this book itself. It’s not so much a small Joy, as a huge one.

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