Mini Review: Bad Vibes Only

Cover image courtesy of Goodreads. Image edited in Canva.

Rating: 4 Stars

Format: Audiobook 

(Full disclosure: This post uses Bookshop.org affiliate links)

There was a time in my life where I got a bit obsessed with memoirs about grief. Enter: Nora McInerny’s first book, It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too). I am still in awe of how quickly she was able to write this book following the loss of her husband and her father, even if I, too, get through most things by writing about them. 

Since then, I’ve read (almost) everything she’s written. So when I heard she had a new essay collection coming out, and it was called Bad Vibes Only, it went right to the old TBR. 

Bad Vibes Only (And Other Things I Bring to the Table) is a collection of essays about life in a world that remains uncomfortable with blunt honesty and prefers we bring the good vibes. This is also known as “toxic positivity.” McInerny’s writing is open and raw and real, and she isn’t afraid to tackle the big scary things like death and loss or the fear of never being good enough. 

This collection is no different. There are some great essays in here that really shine a light on our culture and its complexities. I love how she takes her son’s question “Is it good?” and uses it as a jumping off point to explore how how complicated “good” and “bad” choices become in a world where ethical consumption is pretty darn diffiult. And her look at the world of influencers selling courses to teach other people how to be influencers, which is not unlike a pyramid scheme? Yeah, that one will stay with me a while. 

This book is a bit more parenthood heavy that some of her previous books, which makes sense since her family has grown and she is a mom. As someone who is childfree by choice, I don’t read much about motherhood, but I do really like how McInerny writes about what it’s like to raise people and watch them grow and change. 

In all, Bad Vibes Only is a great collection of essays that I highly recommend to anyone who loves some insightful cultural commentary with a mix of humor tossed in. There are some difficult topics here, so be ready for a little existential dread along the way. 

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