College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Liberal Arts Matters

Because Ideas Matter...

The faculty and staff of Butler University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences presents

Recommended Readings

Monkey -MindMonkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety

by Daniel Smith, Simon and Schuster, 2012

Reviewed by Eloise Sureau-Hale

I had never really considered anxiety as a disorder before. A nuisance? Definitely! A slight annoyance when dealing with a major event? Sure. I thought of anxiety as a feeling that makes your legs wobble as you settle to address a large crowd. Or perhaps that insecure moment in front of the judge before uttering "I do". But I had not thought of it as a real diagnosable disorder and certainly not something that could paralyze a person into inanition.

All this changed when I started reading Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety by Daniel Smith. Very candidly, Daniel Smith describes the nuts and bolts of the disorder. He reveals personal memories of the various moments in his young life when anxiety took over, and all he could do was watch in sheer horror as his whole universe collapsed.

Sharing examples of nail biting frenzies, of his sexual trauma, of his dealing with an anxious mother, and of working as a fact-checker at a local newspaper, Daniel Smith does not hide from the truth. He tells it all with stories that go from burst-out laughing funny to verge of tears gripping.

Anyone in search of an easy-fix for the disorder will not find it here. This is not a medical book. This is the recounting of an experience, of living with anxiety and dealing with it on an everyday basis.

This book is an eye opener and a great insight on a disorder that seems to be born out of our very fast and ever changing modern world.

- Eloise Sureau-Hale is associate professor of French at Butler University.