Christmas of 2018 was fun, asides taking a trip to North Carolina and Virginia, I also got gifts. Included in my gift parcel, was this life-changing book called “my friend fear” by Meera Patel.
My friend fear is both a personal narrative and a guiding book about overcoming fear by embracing it.
As a Nigerian, I was apprehensive about the title of the book (how can fear be my friend) but felt I should give it a try because I fell in love with the book cover design. A quick flip through the book and I was drawn in by the color choice of the illustrations, and short paragraph text that followed.
The writer opens with an interesting quote from Epictetus “first, say to yourself what you would be; & then do what you have to do”. I found the quote a succinct choice to ease into the idea of fear being a friend, and also a merging summary theme of the book.
Fear is always the projection of the unknown, and the book highlights the different ways we get to accept it, and the impact it has on us living freely. “We are born fearless. We are born free”, but as we begin to live our lives, we learn fear from those who love us, and we try to mold ourselves into their vision for us, in other to be accepted and understood.
There are different types of fear, and Meera paints a clear picture of how in each phase of our journey, the decisions we make or do not are determined by how well we handle our fears. However, she makes a case for ‘fear’ and pins it on our perception of life through culture.
“I know where fears came from, but it doesn’t mean grappling with them is easy. Modern culture paints fear as a dark, powerful thing that has the ability to control us-but fear isn’t the true culprit here. It isn’t fear that tells us to change who we are–it’s our culture-the signs, voices, and messages we’re surrounded by”. (pg, 34)
Moving ahead, I loved the tone of the book, very therapeutic, broken down childlike illustrations, yet with a narrative of a grown adult”. The choice of red and green undertones is catchy and easily interpreted as the writer’s raw emotions. There is also an academic underpinning one cannot ignore while reading the book, the writer choice of laying out the “theory of basic emotion” to show that fear is human, and everyone has them. Also, at the end of the book, the author provides references, for quotes, and other works that inspired her.
There is so much to talk about how good this book is, but I’ll let you try it yourself (available on Amazon here). In the past few months, I have taken inspiration from Meera’s writing to caption my Instagram post. Her work is therapeutic and is a recommended read. Below is a quote from my graduation caption;
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths”.
That said, this post is not an AD! Book reviews have been on my content purview for a while now, and I am excited I get to overcome my anxiousness and fear (hey Meera, see what I did here) to do a book review, kicking off with “my friend fear”. Find out about the author here
What book have you read this year? comment below