Month: August 2018

Can You Tolerate This?: Essays by Ashleigh Young

tolerateIt is a long time since I read a book of essays, reading this made me realise that I have been missing out and that I should do far more reading of shorter forms of writing. Ashleigh Young writes the most beautiful sentences, they are deceptively simple. She draws you in and had me reading story after story, although they aren’t really stories they are musings and wonderings and reflections. She examines her family and her past. Musings on her childhood anxieties and siblings are so personal and thoughtful that I became very invested in her life, I think because there was a lot of familiarity there. I recognised places but also the feelings she has as life in her household is described.

My favourite though was her musing on yoga. Her descriptions of the feelings of examining the feelings of the stretches and the introspection that yoga brings. Bikram yoga is extreme, I think. The idea of choosing to exercise in unbelievable heat is something I just couldn’t contemplate yet to have Ashleigh Young describe it and almost meditate upon it, makes it close to appealing.

I’ve been trying to describe this book to friends and I have difficulty putting my finger on what exactly it is about it that I loved so much. I think it is connection. I was right in there with her throughout all the situations she describes. I was cheering her on in times of insecurity as she worried about her hairy arms and while her family was being terrified flying over my hometown in a storm. I adored the story of her mum learning to glide with it’s really terrible ending.

This is a treasure of a book. Ashleigh Young I’ll read all your books in the future.

Thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishers for giving me access to this book.