I’d never heard of Sara Benincasa before my sister lent me this book, but apparently she does stand up comedy. A lot of her act revolves around her struggles with anxiety, which is also the focus of this book. She attacks the subject with humor and frankness, and the result is an interesting, enlightening read.
Benincasa started having anxiety attacks around the age of 10. The first really severe one occurred in a bathroom in Italy when she was in high school. This evolved into a general fear of bathrooms (because, as she explains, if you get punched in the stomach at one department store, you might begin to avoid all department stores in general). Eventually, she stopped leaving her apartment.
Benincasa does a good job of showing how an intelligent, social woman could become so gripped by anxiety that she eventually ends up urinating in cereal bowls and hiding them under her bed. It seems insane (and it is), but she also makes you understand WHY she ended up like that.
There’s also a lot of redemption in the story, as her family and friends help her overcome her anxiety (or rather, learn to live with it since it’s hardly something that can be “cured) and she regains some control over her life. As the book ends, she has discovered her love for the stand up comedy career she has today which has helped her recovery in many ways.
As someone who suffers from anxiety that manifests as obsessive compulsive disorder, I enjoyed this book even though some aspects hit a bit close to home. Still, it was nice to see the perspective of someone else suffering from similar issues, and see how she made it through.