Some Nerve by Patty Chang Anker


My mama is always saying that my problem is that I’m a scaredy-cheese, and that if I could just face my fears I’d be less anxious (ugh). Fittingly, she bought me this book last Christmas, in the hopes that I’d become inspired to change my life.

Well, I’ve finally gotten around to reading the dang thing, and I must say it wasn’t a life-changing book. Patty Chang Anker is afraid of many, MANY things (the ocean, cleaning, public speaking, driving, her children, etc.), none of which I am also particularly scared of, so I didn’t really relate to her experiences facing her fear(s). But while I didn’t feel the need to get off the couch and follow in her footsteps, I did enjoy reading her story, and the stories she collected of other brave people facing their fears. She manages to be both humorous and insightful, something that few non-fiction writers achieve without being preach-y. She doesn’t score higher than a 7, though, because when I read the work from cover to cover I felt that a lot of her anecdotes became repetitive. It almost would have been better if it had been published as a series of essays/articles about fear, rather than a book with chapters. Either that, or it could have been a hair shorter, and cut out some of the repeated information.

Perhaps I’m being a bit too critical; it would be pretty scary to write a book that puts yourself down in so many ways, so she deserves applause regardless of what I have to say about the book. And the true heroes are those who those who went along with her plans to face their own fears or those who helped the scared have marvelous adventures.

Sorry, mama; your plan to make me less anxious led to nothing more productive than another book review!

AND WHAT ABOUT THE MOVIE? Surprise! There is no movie! Although I keep imagining an incredible sit-com about a woman who is afraid of a new thing every week, and each episode finds herself having to overcome that fear. It would be funny for a season or two, right?


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