BY EMILY WHITE
Despite having a demanding job, good friends, and a supportive family, Emily White spent many of her evenings and weekends alone at home, trying to understand why she felt so disconnected from everyone. To keep up the façade of an active social life and to hide the painful truth, the successful young lawyer often lied to those around her—and to herself. She was suffering from severe loneliness.
In this insightful, soul-baring, and illuminating memoir, White reveals her battle to understand and overcome this crippling condition, and contends that chronic loneliness deserves the same attention as other mental difficulties such as depression. "Right now, loneliness is something few people are willing to admit to," she writes. "There's no need for this silence, no need for the shame and self-blame it creates. There's nothing wrong with loneliness, and we need to start acknowledging this through a wider and more open discussion of the state."
Interweaving her personal story with the latest in cutting-edge scientific research—as well as the incredibly moving accounts offered by numerous lonely men and women—White provides a deep and thorough portrait of this increasingly common but too often ignored affliction. By investigating the science of loneliness, challenging its stigma, encouraging other lonely people to talk about their experiences, and setting out one person's struggle, Lonely redefines how we look at loneliness and helps those who are afflicted understand their mood in an entirely new light, ultimately providing solace and hope.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Emily White is a former lawyer who now works as a writer and policy advisor. Her first book, Lonely: A Memoir, has been selected for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Series. Originally from Toronto, White now lives in St. John's, Newfoundland, on the far, far east coast of Canada.
Emily White has written a memoir that I believe is unlike any other. In LONELY, White describes what it is like to live her life in a state of loneliness. Although she had grown up in a fairly typical family and went on to have a successful career, friends, and what looked to be a normal life, Emily White struggled with loneliness. Recognizing it for what it was, but unable to explain it or change it, she decided to investigate it. White found that loneliness really is an actual field of study and there is research to support that. By contacting doctors and searching the Internet and academic resources, she found out what the research that is out there has to say. She also interviewed many people about their battle with loneliness. She explains that loneliness is not to be confused with depression, and there are also different kinds of loneliness.
With that, however, do not think that this is a scientific study or self-help book. Writing about her own life and her research made this a unique and fascinating memoir. Emily writes about how she was lonely even though she had friends and writes about how her “normal” day would go but then when asked to socialize, she would find an excuse to avoid it in any way that she could. After a while, she actually retreated almost into seclusion making continued excuses to friends and family as to why she wasn’t available, or couldn’t say yes to an invitation. Her story does sometimes mirror the research she found in that her parents divorced at a time when her two older sisters were almost grown and soon after moved out as was normal to do at that stage of their life. She believes that was the beginning of her condition. Emily White clearly tells the story of her own withdrawal into isolation and her eventual return that includes a personal relationship. Writing about her life and her research made for a fascinating and unique memoir. She hopes it may serve to help others who are experiencing the same thing.
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