I felt a little guilty when I was notified that I had been granted an advance reader copy of Charlie Jane Ander’s essay collection, Never Say You Can’t Survive. I am not a writer and I have no aspirations to be a writer. I have no qualifications for judging this book. However, I have never let a lack of qualifications get in my way of judging things. The short version is, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to any creative person.
I have always enjoyed listening to people talk about their creative process, and Never Say You Can’t Survive is that – a writer talking about the craft of writing. Anders frames her essays around using writing to survive hard times. As a non writer, this was the piece that was the most interesting to me. Through the chapters of the book, she melds the elements of the storytelling with surviving a harsh world with your soul intact. Do you feel out of control in the world you live in? As an author, you are the god of your own world. Are you being swamped with rage at injustice? Channel that rage into a story. The joy of the book is when she gets into the details of the why and the how to construct that soul saving story. Anders uses examples from her own books, and other works to illustrate her points. I feel like Never Say You Can’t Survive is going to make me a better reader and reviewer.
The essays are dense and rich. If I had a physical copy, which I will at some point, it would have looked like one of my grad school text books with passages highlighted, underlined, and sticky notes jutting from the pages. There are points when I was reading that I would replace the word writer with the word adult and the advice worked. If I could, this review would be a series of quotes that resonated with me as a person and as a reader, and quotes I want to stick in front of the creative people I know who doubt their own brilliance.
I received this as an advance reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.