Inspiring the feels, like a doll freed from the basement – ‘A Semi-definitive List of Worst Nightmares’


I’ve been writing and editing these last few months, but now I’ve freed up some time to cover some of the awesome reads I’ve enjoyed recently.

Let’s start with ‘A Semi-definitive List of Worst Nightmares’ by Krystal Sutherland, which has such a fab cover and takes out my personal award for one of the best titles EVER, as well as picking up a CBCA Notables sticker.

This is clever writing, FUNNY writing – I absolutely devour books with humour! I love laughing to myself in the middle of the night. I love finishing a book and feeling empowered and happy and like I want to read the whole thing again.

The third person narrator in this book ROCKS. Rather than relying on MC Esther to narrate (she’d be a rather unreliable narrator I feel) we get precious, drolly hilarious insight into the curse that holds her back from jumping into life.

Esther had never before believed that there was anything nice or useful on the other side of fear. Fear was a sensible barrier that kept the living from becoming the dead, and it shouldn’t be crossed under any circumstances.

p. 145

Sutherland is so clever in this, from the text messages between Esther and Jonah, to the inventive excuses provided for each Sunday so Esther can pretend to try to get out of facing another fear. Check out this text from Esther to Jonah, when she’s trying to get back her list of fears:

Put it in the mailbox and then delete my phone number and then get abducted by aliens and never return to this planet.

p. 43

This is the type of humour I love.

But it’s not all chuckles and puppydogs. This story deals with heavy issues like mental illness and anxiety in a beautiful way. It blends fantasy and reality and then snicks home the message at the end. It encourages the reader to grab life and live it and care for those around you, and be brave enough to be who you really are. To love who you are.

I don’t have a background of anxiety like Esther, although I often have to challenge that part of me that wants to shrink away from something new, because new can be scary. I’ve learnt to push myself, remind myself that nervousness and excitement feel the same in our bodies – it’s only how I interpret the feeling that changes it. So, reading this from my perspective, I loved it. I applauded it. I recommend you read it 🙂

Have you? Did you connect with it like I did?


One thought on “Inspiring the feels, like a doll freed from the basement – ‘A Semi-definitive List of Worst Nightmares’

  1. Pingback: AWW2018 roundup and 2019 launch! | hm waugh – writer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s