What Doesn’t Kill You, fifteen essays by a diverse group of commentators, writers, actors, journalists, explorers, among them, is an insightful look at the beauty of the human spirit. It’s often not an easy read, but it is a necessary one, and there are some lovely pieces, beautifully penned, poignant, moving. Ones that make us nod, sigh, laugh, weep.

Covering a range of issues, from alcoholism and body image issues to anxiety, depression and grief, these are honestly given accounts by people, some of whose names you may recognise, a lot you probably will not. They’re about, in the most challenging of circumstances, how we humans can often find light when there’s seemingly none, can triumph over the steepest of adversities, even when we barely can seem to draw breath. Put simply, they are stories of courage, hope.

The world we now live in has altered almost beyond all comprehension in a mere matter of months, people who previously probably hadn’t even considered them, forced to think of all manner of issues – their mortality, the future of humankind, people’s humanity and kindness (or lack of), all in the strange seclusion of Lockdown. Mental health, more than at any time before, is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and the essays which editor, Elitsa Dermendzhiyska, has brought together, shine a well-needed spotlight on this issue. It’s a diverse, well-comprised volume. Highly recommended.


What Doesn’t Kill You: Fifteen Stories of Survival | Elitsa Dermendzhiyska, ed. | Unbound | paperback | £9.99 | 11 June 2020 |

ebook also available



Acknowledgements: This review is published as part of the book tour organised by Random Things Tours. Many thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation. Thanks to the publisher for supplying a digital proof. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved. Please check out the other reviews on this tour.

See also: Prospect beautiful, Derek Jarman’s cottage‘; ‘Chris Whitaker’s small-town America’; ‘Nora Roberts’ Sanctuary: an Old Familiar’; Carver’s Nothing Important Happened Today’; By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Yvonne Battle-Fenton’s Remembered‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

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