In this slim book, Umar Siddiqui discusses therapy—both as a philosophical concept and as a presence in his own life as he navigates life after he “proudly conquered” his “schizoaffective bipolar disorder.”
Siddiqui is open about benefiting from therapy, with much of the book focusing on acts that can be therapeutic, which include living mindfully; being creative through writing, music, clothing, etc.; and communicating effectively. But this focus becomes blurred as he also ruminates on a wide range of other topics—from the differences between autonomy and independence and structure and direction to breaking traditions and the meaning of existence. He wrestles with definitions of nebulous concepts throughout and includes a glossary of how he perceives them.
Siddiqui shares his pride in his Pakastani American Muslim heritage while also describing the negative aspects of the culture: policing that can make one feel watched, inherited trauma that must be managed, and a polarized “us versus them” attitude in the U.S. Siddiqui also discusses his appreciation for all things Disney, calling himself a “Disdork,” and his passion for fashion, while acknowledging the harm caused by culture appropriation in couture.
Chapters have subheadings to delineate sections of text of varying lengths, and each one reads somewhat like a blog post in a stream-of- consciousness style. In fact, people who enjoy philosophically discussing topics could pick one and have thoughtful conversations about the subject—whether going chronologically through the book or by randomly choosing topics of interest.
For many other readers, though, the meandering thoughts expressed may feel too unstructured, and a more clear-cut, well-organized premise would serve them much better. Plenty of subjects introduced could use more in-depth explanations about Siddiqui’s insights with smoother transitions among them to allow readers to better understand how his ideas connect.
In all, readers will find some interesting nuggets here and there, but the book requires a clearer focus to lend it widespread appeal.
Also available as an ebook.