Book review: First, We Make the Beast Beautiful

beastFirst, We Make the Beast Beautiful
Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson approaches anxiety disorders with bracing honesty, reassuring credibility, and aching softness. Weaving personal experience, professional research, and inspiration from a number of outside sources–friends, gurus, writers–she offers an exploration of anxiety that’s great for everyone.

It’s not a how-to, an exhaustive research compendium, or a first-person narrative. Instead, she pulls the best elements of each to create a one-of-a-kind book for a deeply varied experience.

I shared last week about how I’ve recently recognized and begun to process and work on my own anxiety. First, We Make the Beast Beautiful is, in fact, the first book I’ve read about anxiety. It came on recommendation from my sister and I drove across counties to get it.

It was worth it.

The first few chapters were a struggle. I had to learn Sarah’s voice and approach, but until then I muddled through, trying to make sense of her driving message. Over time, I acclimated, and the second half was a revelation. I took pictures of whole chapters and copied down pages of notes. It helped me better articulate some of what I experience and made me feel less alone.

This book is a vital read for everyone, in my opinion. It can be life-giving for those with anxiety, transformative for the family and friends of people with anxiety, and potentially a revelation for anyone else. Perhaps, like me, you’ll realize that all the behaviors you’re ashamed of actually have a name and source. Or maybe you’ll simply recenter your thinking and discard old or bad myths and biases about mental illness in general, and anxiety specifically.

I am incredibly grateful to Sarah for writing First, We Make the Beast Beautiful. Portions of it are breath-takingly raw, and being public with an authentic picture of your self is a brave act, one that I’m sure has caused her plenty of private anguish. She took on that risk to help other people, and I have so much respect for that.

Read First, We Make the Beast Beautiful. 

1 thought on “Book review: First, We Make the Beast Beautiful

  1. Pingback: My 18 Favorite Books of 2018 | Lyse of Llyr

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