Sunday, November 11, 2012

Book Review: Here's to Not Catching Our Hair on Fire by Stacey Turis


Did you know that if you forget to pay a speeding ticket you WILL get arrested—in front of your kids, the neighbors—the dog—and anyone else who happens to be there? True story. And the thing is, Stacey Turis has a million of them, and she imparts these and other nuggets of wisdom to offer others suffering from ADHD some hope in knowing that they are not alone.

A belly-laugh inducing romp through a life so convoluted and chaotic you know it has to be true, Stacey Turis’s debut gives a voice to the genius yet tormented souls suffering from giftedness, ADHD, or a combination of both (a condition known as twice-exceptional) who are too afraid to speak.

Chronicling her life journey from a state of self-loathing to one of self-acceptance, the stories flow timelessly, always incorporating the resulting lessons and reflections gleaned from each adventure. Including both the tragic, stomach churning details of a horrifically abusive time in her childhood to comic adventures such as deciding to dye her hair plum the day before an important presentation to a bank only to have it turn out purple, her life has never suffered from a dull moment. Though she often thought Karma was the reason she found herself in so many “pickles,” a friend explained to her that when you put yourself out in the world more than anyone else, it’s really just a matter of statistics. Lucky for Turis and the rest of us, putting herself out there all these years allows us all to look at life through her pair of less-struggle-more-sass glasses.

With over three hundred million people suffering from ADHD worldwide and experiencing many of the same debilitating symptoms, Turis’ goal is to share her experiences so that others afflicted can rid themselves of the shame of hiding their behavior. A rip-roaring and bracingly honest look at a twice-exceptional life, Here’s to Not Catching Our Hair on Fire: An Absent-Minded Tale of Life with Giftedness and Attention Deficit—Oh Look! A Chicken! turns the rational on its head in a rollicking depiction of a life that seems to be constantly going off the rails.

My review:

Content warning: This book contains stories of child abuse.

Alternating between laugh-out-loud hilarity and tear-invoking "I can totally relate to that" moments, this is certainly not a boring book. The difference between being a total disaster and keeping some sanity seems to be having a good support system. Turis has this, especially in her husband, but also her parents (before their divorce, apparently).

...when someone tells you that you can do anything (as my parents did), then you truly believe you can do anything, and if you believe you can do anything, there is nothing you can't do. If you don't believe me, just try it for yourself; you'll be shocked at your own superpowers!
Of course, Turin also seems to be a little hyperverbal, but that's to be expected.

For the most part, the appeal of this book is that I could identify with so much of what's in it. About procrastination:
Without stress and pressure, it's a free-for-all in this brain. "Oh... just do it need to relax. It'll still be there tomorrow"...on and on, until three years later nothing is accomplished.
On career goals (although I don't do everything I want to do):
I've finally come to the conclusion that what I want to do "when I grow up" will be a constantly evolving idea, and I simply have to evolve with it. That way when it's all said and done, I will have done everything I've ever wanted to do, instead of wasting time and energy focusing on finding that one elusive thing that will never appear.
On hiding your true self to make others happy (I've spent 12 years trying to be what someone else thinks I should be. Trust me, it's much less stressful to be able to be yourself rather than hiding your true nature.):
Being myself comes much more naturally to me. Isn't that a ridiculous statement? You would think that would be common sense, but it isn't! Look at all of the people in the world either asking someone else to change or trying to change for someone else. 
If cursing offends you, you don't want to read this book, but otherwise it's a very interesting, and fairly quick, read.

About the book:
Title: Here's to Not Catching Our Hair on Fire: An Absent-Minded Tale of Life with Giftedness and Attention Deficit - Oh Look! A Chicken!
Author: Stacey Turin
Publisher: Bohemian Ave. Press
Release date: Jan 11, 2012
Pages: 230
Where I got the book: "Bought" it on an Amazon free day

This is Review #10 in my Hurricane Relief Review-a-thon. Please go HERE for all the details and to make a donation or win a $20 Amazon gift card by helping me spread the word.

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