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I loved the story of the tree that Brian told to little Abigail during their time together, and I cheered each of them on whenever they progressed. It truly has the power to change lives. Thank you, Ms. Superb read! When a book about a man with anxiety disorders has you sobbing multiple times in just the first few pages, you know the author has managed to capture some essential truth of the human condition and the book is something special.

Peterson is very highly recommended; very emotional, but worth every tear. Brian Cunningham is 37 years old and works as the night custodian and information technology specialist at Hayden Elementary School. After 18 years of working at t When a book about a man with anxiety disorders has you sobbing multiple times in just the first few pages, you know the author has managed to capture some essential truth of the human condition and the book is something special.

After 18 years of working at the same job, with the same man as the head, day time custodian, Brian is able to handle this job and his panic attacks because his contact with other people is limited. Brian not only suffers from anxiety disorders, and panic attacks, but he recently lost his best friend, his dog Oscar, so he is in mourning. Brian is isolated and full of anxiety daily. When 7 year old Abigail Harris, a new student to the school, is found hiding in the janitor's mechanical room, she latches onto Brian as someone she can trust after the initial fright both of them experienced.

Abigail has multiple problems of her own. She has been abused and lived in multiple foster homes. She is suffering from attachment issues and disorders. When her immediate attachment to Brian is discovered by the principal and her uncle and aunt, Brian ends up being charged as watching Abigal after school until her uncle or aunt can arrive to take her home. The assignment gives Brian even more anxiety, but he finds himself able to relate to Abigail better than many of the other adults around her and help her.

The help for Brian comes in the form of Abigail and Dr. Greene, a therapist who Brian's mom contacts and makes an appointment for him. Even though he only sees her a few times in the book, those visits help give the reader an extra insight into therapy and how Brian may be helped to cope with life a bit easier. Peterson is a mental health professional with a background in public education, so she brings a skill set to this novel that is incredible.

She manages to capture what Brian, the narrator, is thinking and feeling as he tries to get through each day. It is heart breaking. She allows Brian to tell us what he is thinking and feeling in such an empathetic but realistic way that you can't help but want the best for him; want him to receive some kind of help. She also provides the background information on the origin of Brian's anxiety. While she may not be a technically gifted story teller, she has brilliantly captured the inner thought process of Brian so completely that any quibbles about the plot fall away.

This is a great book. Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Inkwater Press for review purposes. View 1 comment. Jun 18, Katie rated it really liked it. I just found it hard — possibly even a little uncomfortable at times — to read all his thoughts, as this man has very low self-esteem and a huge anxiety problem. Having never experienced anything on this level, it really sort of opened my eyes to just how much of a struggle simple every day tasks can be for some. I think the book was a great way for someone like me to understand how certain people may feel.

Unexpectedly, she decides that she like Brian, and despite his original concerns, he does manage to help her.

In return, she definitely helps to bring Brian out a bit more. I really enjoyed this aspect because you see a whole different side to a friendly relationship when one is an adult and the other a child.

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Hugh just seemed to be someone who was good for Brian, as a male friend around the same age. Had the story carried on, I think we would have seen their relationship grow a lot more. I finished the book late one night, sobbing into my pillows. Apr 21, Howard Franklin rated it it was amazing. While American society has progressed in facing and accepting mental illness, unfortunately, it is still not as recognized and accepted as physical diseases are. That is why novelist Tanya J.

Peterson's work is so important, and why I so heartily recommend her novel, My Life in a Nutshell. Peterson is not only a very talented writer, but having suffered from mental illness herself, she brings a thorough understanding of the subject to her work. While innumerable non-fiction books on the subject While American society has progressed in facing and accepting mental illness, unfortunately, it is still not as recognized and accepted as physical diseases are.

While innumerable non-fiction books on the subject exist, and are helpful, what Peterson's novel does is bring the subject to life by entertaining the reader with a dramatic story featuring sensitively drawn characters that the reader can relate to. Thus, while being entertained, the reader also becomes educated with respect to mental illness.

In my opinion, no other author does what Peterson does as well! Aug 10, Marjorie rated it it was amazing. It is a story of a gifted man and how in silence he lives his life despite his crippling anxiety and panic attacks. But there is a key for him that could help him to unlock this. It comes in the form of a small girl who lives in her own nightmare. But can the key fit so they both can live their lives free of their problems.

This book is fantastic. It is one that you will read and not stop until the end. I give it 5 stars but wish i could give more. I highly recommend it to all. Sep 21, Jessica rated it really liked it Shelves: arc , blog-review. Last May, I read and reviewed Tanya J. We have good character development. Our main character is Brian Cunningham, a brilliant man who is a school janitor and suffers from anxiety. She suffers from abandonment issues and easily attaches to herself people and when she gets into trouble she has a habit of throwing tantrums and lying.


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We also have several secondary characters that are important including Sammi and Hugh, both teachers at the elementary school. The real treat is Roger, a fellow janitor and I just really liked how he was there for Brian! Narrative is first person via Brian and it makes sense since this is his story. I really liked the use of first person narrative because it brings his suffering from anxiety front and center. You see yourself in the same situations Brian finds himself in and you can understand his reluctance to participate. I believe readers will easily associate with Brian and we can see parts of ourselves in him.

Then reality hits, in real life some kid has experienced exactly what Abigail has gone through. My sister suffers from it and has been diagnosed with agoraphobia.

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Like Brian, my sister keeps quiet about her illness because she knows not everyone will understand. She lets us see the situation at hand and we can understand the character better as the story progresses. Seriously, I commend Peterson for tackling a taboo subject. This review and more are posted at Literary, etc. Jun 01, Kim rated it really liked it Shelves: netgalley.

This book was one of those chance findings when I was looking through the various selections offered at NetGalley. I don't know exactly what pulled me toward this book, but I was glad I ended up reading it. Maybe it was because I identified with the main character to a certain degree. Maybe it was because I wished to see someone triumph over adversity. Whatever the reason, I can say with certainty that I was definitely intrigued and couldn't wait to discover what awaited me between the book's co This book was one of those chance findings when I was looking through the various selections offered at NetGalley.

Whatever the reason, I can say with certainty that I was definitely intrigued and couldn't wait to discover what awaited me between the book's cover. Told through Brian's eyes and experiences, the author gave a voice to all the worrying and the character's anxious thought processes as he encountered various situations. From the very first chapter the high level of anxiety that Brian experienced on a daily basis was front and center. I could tell right away that he was painfully shy on top of all the other worries he admitted to within the first chapter.

The bombardment of his thoughts could be off-putting for some readers. I can understand that as they were almost too much for me to continue reading because I could emphasize with Brian. So much so that I felt the anxiety and sadness roll off his character in waves. As the story continued and more characters were introduced, an increase in anxiety was evident and expected. For Brian the only reason to get up in the morning despite the exhaustive panic attacks he endured was a little girl who seemed more lost than he was.

The rest of the characters were well fleshed-out, giving a voice to different concerns and misconceptions as the story unraveled. In fact their behavior or dialogue affected the pace of the story. During some of Brian's panic attacks, the pace was fast and bordering on frantic. When other characters appeared with a calming presence, the pace slowed to allow time to breathe and process what happened.

I could guess some of the events to be uncovered by the way Brian and his coworkers reacted, but I was also pleasantly surprised when a few didn't go the way I thought they would. My heart ached when pieces of Abigail's story came to light. She was the little girl who captured everyone's attention with her bright eyes, desire to fit in and the gut-wrenching history. Her small voice broke through defenses of many characters and brought needed change in all their lives. One character really annoyed me by her treatment of Brian despite the fact that she professed to do it out of love. All in all, this book wasn't something I was looking for, but was one I needed to read.

Anyone experiencing anxiety or other such disorders will be able to relate to what Brian's going through. In fact much of the book stayed with me long after I finished the final chapter. The whole journey felt overwhelming in the beginning. By the time I reached the end, I felt hope and happiness as some issues were completely resolved. Others needed more time, but I have no doubt they would be resolved as well. The author tapped into something that I think many people in today's world felt at one time or another.

Even with technology connecting the world, people feel more alone and lost than ever before. If you're looking for a book with characters to root for or something that wraps its words around you and doesn't let go, this is a book you need to have on your list. Jan 30, Ashley rated it it was amazing. Tanya J. Brian is brilliant, but suffers from severe, crippling anxiety that causes him to dread contact with others. Moved from foster home to foster home, seven year old Abigail comes to live with her aunt and uncle. Through her school, she meets Brian, and he becomes one of the few Tanya J.

Through her school, she meets Brian, and he becomes one of the few people she trusts. The book explores how Brian and Abigail, through their own difficulties, help each other. This was a tough book to read. But the way Peterson writes Brian, I found myself tensing up, empathizing with his distress. When Brian was able to take a deeper breath, so was I. So when I say that this is a tough read, I mean it with the highest compliments-I think reading this has made me more sympathetic to what many people face daily. Abigail has been passed from foster home to foster home, suffering physical and emotional abuse.

Something in Brian connects to Abigail, tethers them together. I think perhaps that it is their loneliness that is the common ground for Abigail and Brian- and perhaps some subconscious knowledge that although their challenges are different, the other may be the only one who can help them. That things we take for granted my be a hellacious undertaking for others. This is another book I highly recommend- for a glimpse into a world we as readers may not fully understand, but also well-drawn characters with a story to tell.

Aug 21, Anne Mackle rated it it was amazing. Last year I reviewed Tanya's first novel Leave of Absence here and I have been waiting in anticipation for this second one. I had a lazy day on Sunday and read this book in one sitting mainly because I couldn't put it down. Brian has worked as a school caretaker for seventeen years, he starts work just as the school bell rings to mark the end of the day hoping he won't have to be in contact with many people.

I can't imagine how Brian has lived in the world for so long,a world that scares him to the Last year I reviewed Tanya's first novel Leave of Absence here and I have been waiting in anticipation for this second one. I can't imagine how Brian has lived in the world for so long,a world that scares him to the point where he can't move from his bed. For seventeen years Brian has coped with his job but along comes seven year old Abigail who takes a liking to him and his world changes.

I loved Abigail, she was gutsy but vulnerable. She had had a life of never belonging and can't understand why her aunt and uncle want to keep her with them so she pushes them away. The school caretaker is the only one she trusts but a few people are suspicious of him and why he is around Abigail so much.

Through trying to help a little girl Brian comes in contact with two other teachers Sammi and Hugh. He can't understand why they like him and want to be friends as he sees himself as a horrible person who says all the wrong things and is too inadequate to live in a normal world. I wanted to crawl into this book and hug Brian and Abigail. I wanted to tell Brian that he always says just the right thing at the right time,that he is a lovely man and people would be proud to have him as his friend. I also wanted to give his mother a right good slap because she is the root of Brian's problems.

There is no great big plot in this story,there is no big secret or amazing revelation at the end. Instead what you get is a story of a broken man and a broken child, fate throws them together and something magical happens. I've said too much about the story already and this is one I don't want to spoil for you. The pages of my book were wet with tears when I had finished and I had a lump in my throat that only a glass of wine would wash away. I want to thank the author Tanya Peterson for sending me a copy of this book all the way from America.

I really do prefer a real book in my hand and apart from its lovely atmospheric cover this book is very soft to touch and I can't stop running my hands over it. Book lovers will know what I mean. Aug 03, Erin Cataldi rated it it was amazing Shelves: It's hard to write about anxiety disorders and mental health in a novel and make it believable but Tanya J. Peterson has managed to do it Her first novel, "Leave of Absence," dealt with the effects of grief and schizophrenia, "My Life in a Nutshell" deals with extreme anxiety.

Peterson crafts together an emotional, gripping tale of severe debilitating anxiety that gets you so worked up and involved, that it's as if you are personally suffering through it. It's almost painful, but it's It's hard to write about anxiety disorders and mental health in a novel and make it believable but Tanya J.

It's almost painful, but it's so eye opening and humbling to realize that thousands of people have to deal with these types of emotions daily and there isn't always a happy ending for them. People suffering from anxiety are seriously misunderstood lonely souls and Peterson deftly brings their plight to readers. Brian is a lonely soul. His beloved pet dog has just died and he is now on his own. Getting out of bed and going to work was hard enough before, but now without his trusty companion the depression, anxiety, and panic attacks threaten to overtake Brian completely.

Solitary by nature, Brian works the night shift as a custodian to a local school and avoids human interaction whenever possible. A trip to the store is enough to cause a panic attack, talking to people is downright painful for him. Brian is perpetually scared he will say the wrong thing, look stupid, or be socially awkward. As if things couldn't get worse for Brian, his mother has insisted he see a counselor and a troubled child at the school has taken to following Brian around. Perhaps, both of these new people in his life can help him address what is holding him back from having a happy fulfilled life?

Another great novel from award winning author, Tanya J. She humanizes anxiety and makes it easier for readers to understand just how horrific it is by portraying the story through Brian's eyes and having the reader suffer through all the panic attacks and insecurity that he is dealing with. Truly eye opening and well deserving of the Kirkus star it received. I received this book for free from the author in return for my honest, unbiased opinion. Aug 27, Ellen rated it really liked it. Originally posted on The Canon! This in no way influenced my opinion or review.

Here's the thing about Peterson's work: her characters are key. Peterson isn't afraid to show the true side of human nature, to open doors that society has slammed closed, and examine what truly makes us tick. I fell in love with her two main characters in My Life in a Nutshell. Brian, the narrator Originally posted on The Canon!

Life in a nutshell

Brian, the narrator, shines through his narrative voice. There's a quiet struggle inside him, a war between his anxiety and his yearning to live his life that is simply fascinating. His tendency towards over-analyzing and struggling with what others think of him struck a chord in me: he and I are alike in that.

There's a magic in the friendship between Brian and Abigail, a magic so simple and pure that makes it one of the highlights of My Life. They find a kinship in each other, two people searching for a place, whether it be physically or mentally, to call home. Their story was one of the reasons I kept turning back to this book. Peterson's approach to therapy and the social stigma attached to it was right on the mark for me. I loved the warm therapist who gently pushes Brian beyond the realms of his anxiety. Therapy isn't portrayed as scary or negative; even the therapist is in therapy.

I loved how Peterson knocks down that social roadblock. The narration itself, told from Brian's first person POV, can be a little thick. I loved the opportunity to learn his character, but I appreciated the scenes with dialogue with Abigail or other characters, giving me the opportunity to see his full character. In the end, Peterson strikes gold again with My Life in a Nutshell.

For those who loved Leave of Absence, she brings the same depth of character and plot that we fell in love with. I loved My Life in a Nutshell and I can't wait to see what she does next. Superbly written. The narrative character is precisely and deliberately caricaturistic. If you do not have generalized anxiety and want to see what it is like, read this book.

If you have generalized anxiety, be prepared to see yourself in all too clear of a light. This is wonderfully, difficult to read. The narrator is the main character and we along Superbly written. The narrator is the main character and we along for the ride as he berates himself, is terrified of social interaction, craves isolation, and all the other characteristics that come along with living with generalized anxiety. Wonderful story about how these two 'misfits' fall apart, comes together, and find contentment within themselves and their loved ones.

Jul 26, Jackie rated it really liked it Shelves: giveaways-books-won.

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I won this book from the goodreads giveaway from the publisher inkwater-press. I won it on July 28th and received it that next week. I was very interested in this book that after I read the description and was immediately drawn to it because of one of the main characters suffering from extreme anxiety. I too suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. I was thankful when I won the book. At first I had trouble getting into it, however when I started Chapter 4 I was hooked. There were so many things I won this book from the goodreads giveaway from the publisher inkwater-press.

There were so many things I could relate to with the main character sometimes a little too much and that could be hard to read in some cases, however later in the book I was really given a surprise when I realized I had something very important in common with the main characters mother. I do not want to put any spoilers so you will just need to read the book to find out what I am referring to.

Kategorie: My life in a nutshell

If you suffer from anxiety, panic attacks and social phobias you are not alone and may share similar complications with the main character. If you know of someone or have a family member that suffers from these things I highly recommend reading this book by Tanya J. Peterson as it will give you an example of the struggles going on inside the head of your friend, family member, co-worker, or even a stranger who suffers with this disorder. May 29, Bernadette Robinson rated it really liked it Shelves: e-book , quirky , contemporary , kindle , netgalley , psychological , reading-group-read.

Thanks to NetGalley and the Publishers for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review. Brian Cunningham was an anxious man and at times he came across as socially inept in lots of situations. He was a loner and struggled dealing with others. Abigail Harris is a young child, who has been passed from one foster home to another during her short life.

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Abigail moves to the town that Brian lives in, to live with an Aunt and Uncle that she has never met before. As Brian and Abigail's p Thanks to NetGalley and the Publishers for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review. As Brian and Abigail's paths cross, Abigail strikes up an unlikely friendship with Brian. As their friendship progresses others wonder at the nature of the friendship between them. It's often hard in today's society for adult men to form friendships with minors without people judging them, expecting there to be hidden agendas behind the friendships.

Can Abigail help Brian become less anxious and overcome his inability to deal with others? I really enjoyed the writing style of the Author and her knowledge of pyschological problems due to her career are evident in this story. I loved the friendship between Brian and Abigail, she was the breath of fresh air that he needed to help him realise that he was able to cope with normal life.

I felt that a lot of Brian's problems where down to his over protective Mother to be honest. Sep 07, Shirley rated it it was amazing. My Life in a Nutshell is the story of two unlikely friends. Brian, a 37 year old custodian at a local school who suffers for anxiety and 7 year old Abigail, a foster child with abandonment issues. Somewhere along the way she has suffered abuse as well. In Brian she discovers someone she can finally trust and its mutual.

Their platonic friendship brings out the best in each other and together they find ways to find a world that is safe. Peterson uses her vast knowledge, education and experienc My Life in a Nutshell is the story of two unlikely friends. Peterson uses her vast knowledge, education and experience to put a personal touch on mental illness.

Fiction is the avenue she does it with because she "believes that fiction is a powerful vehicle for teaching fact. Further, she knows that people empathize with characters in novels, and commonly they transfer their empathy to real-life human beings. Peterson achieves that very thing with her novels. Mar 30, Carmen Blankenship rated it it was amazing Shelves: releases. Wow, Wow, Wow. Once you have finished it you take some time and ponder it and then you realize you have just read one of the books you have read in a very long time. Tanya J Peterson is ridiculously talented as a writing and at verbalizing human emotion and pain.

This story is about a man who struggles intensely with anx Wow, Wow, Wow. This story is about a man who struggles intensely with anxiety, as so many do. My Life In a Nutshell is the most accurate portrayal of the day to day struggles of someone who is suffering from this crippling diagnosis so often undiagnosed. But do not be misled. This story will not leave you feeling depressed. It is uplifting and raw. It is everything that a good book is made of. I cannot praise it enough. What I can do is tell you to read it.

Stop reading my reviews and go read this book! A huge thank you Netgalley and BookBuzz net for the copy in exchange for an honest review. May 25, Jenn rated it really liked it Shelves: four , netgalley , mental-health. This creates truly a lose-lose-lose situation. This is the story of a girl and her dog and that time they almost sold out to the man for 15 minutes of Instagram fame. So, I have this dog. He weighs about 9 pounds. This unease. This sense of melancholy. Older posts. Life, In A Nutshell. Blog at WordPress. Post to Cancel.