It is not a self-help book, but sometimes it hits similar notes. Justyna Mazur, Polish blogger and podcaster, shares with her readers the eleven times in her life that felt like the end of the world. Since she wrote the book you can safely assume she overcame them, to share the experience.
I got this book from my mum for Christmas, together with a guided 5-year reflections journal by Mazur. Now having used the journal for over a month and after reading the book I must say the journal wins.
Let’s start with the title: Small Ends of the World, as in the when the world ends emotionally, not when we get to the end of the world spatially. The book is a mix between an autobiography and a self-help book. Justyna Mazur is, I believe, a few years younger than me, but not by much. We also both were raised in relatively affluent families, that at some points hit financial problems. So I could relate to some of her experiences. To many, I couldn’t because we’re all unique and my ends of the world were different.
Justyna Mazur overcame her ends of the world to become a successful blogger and podcaster. Initially, she focused on lifestyle and self-help topics, but then she also launched a very successful true-crime podcast. It is very heartening to see someone who has been through a lot being able to recover and flourish when they never thought they could.
That said, for me, the book somehow missed the spot. I read it, I sympathized, for it is difficult not to when she shares stories of the death of her loved ones, abusive relationships, and horrible work experiences, but I could not get fully on board. This is why this review is a balancing act for me. One part understanding one part black heart cynism.
I think by the age of 35 every single one of us went through at least one experience that felt like the end of the world. And for the most part, we survived. We were hurt and we healed, and we came out as different people at the other end. I am however always suspicious of people sharing those experiences as lessons for others. My black heart sees it either as insane navel-gazing, exercise in wallowing, or the ultimate act of hubris, to think that your experiences are fully transferable.
Mazur writes with a lot of compassion. She self-analyzes and encourages her readers to analyze their experiences, there is nothing bad in that. But the whole time I had this feeling of listening to someone oversharing. I could not get entirely invested.
I don’t want to condemn this book, because I think there are people for whom it may be helpful. It’s just not for me, and I think I’ll stop here and go check out Mazur’s true-crime podcast (the lifestyle one gives me a similar reaction as the book).
Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska