Review : Hello Me, It’s You by Hanna Todd

Author : Hanna Todd
Genre : Non-Fiction // Mental Health
No. of Pages : 112
Publisher : Self published

Hello Me, it’s You is a collection of letters by young adults aged 17-24 about their experiences with mental health issues. The letters are written to their 16-year-old selves, giving beautifully honest advice, insights, and encouragement for all that lies ahead of them, good or bad. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review (my thanks to the author)


Synopsis : This book was produced by the Hello Me, it’s You charity, set up by the editor, Hannah. Hannah was diagnosed with depression and anxiety whilst at university and found comfort in talking to friends about their experiences, realising she was not alone in her situation. This inspired the idea for the charity and book. Through the creation of materials such as this, the charity aims to provide reassurance for young adults (and their families) who are experiencing mental health issues and give a voice to young adults on such an important topic. The result of that will hopefully be a reduction in the negative stigma surrounding mental health and an increase in awareness of young people’s experiences. All profits go the Hello Me, it’s You charity, for the production of future supportive books.

My Thoughts:

Even though I read this book in mid-2016 but I really wanted to write about it here, so here goes.

Hello Me, It’s You was exceptional. It was emotional and hard-hitting because it was all so real. For me, being in the age group of people who have contributed to this made it more emotional and easy to connect with.

As you may have gathered from the synopsis, this book is a compilation of letters written by a group of young adults, to their younger-selves about their mental health, their struggles, and how they overcome (or actively try to) the everyday challenges due their illness.

You must be responsible for your own happiness.

The letters discuss several alarmingly common yet deeply tabooed issues such as depression, anxiety, trichtillomania, dermatophagia, body-image issues such as bulimia, anorexia and so on. It is up-lifting and very, very important.

Help is out there, but it takes a brave soul to go and find it.

I wish mental health weren’t such a taboo in our society. You realise how an early diagnosis and the right kind of treatment and support can make a HUGE difference.

Never forget to take care of you.

It also made me realise how many things I would have liked to talk to my younger-self about. Anything to make poor 16-year-old-me feel less lonely and less alienated.

2016 was the year I came to terms with my several of own issues and I’m glad to say that this book helped me in the process. May 2017 be the year I finally face the monster and deal with the damned thing. That will make life more than a little easier for my future-self.

Nobody can change how you feel inside but yourself.

I always look for great take-away quotes in books I read. I have blockquoted the ones that stood out for me in this book. Let them be your dose of positivity today.

Thank you, Hannah Todd, for making people do this. It makes readers like me feel more normal to know that we have company. I also thank each and every person who contributed to this book. It CAN’T have been easy. Thank you.

As much as you say that you cannot and will not – I promise you, you can and you will.

~ Mathangi.



We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – #DiverseAThon 2017

Author : Chimamanda Adichie
Genre : Essay
No. of Pages : 52
Publisher : Harper Collins India

I discovered Chimamanda Adichie through twitter only a couple of months ago, and have been wanting to read her writing ever since. I was aware that this book is essentially a transcript of CNA’s TED Talk in 2013 but I hadn’t watched it (only because I’m a spectacularly ignorant, lazy bum) ANYWAY, so I bought the book finally at the end of December 2016. It was worth every penny I spent on it.

This essay is laced with humour and carries a lighthearted tone but that does not deter the subject, the widely disliked and disputed subject, from being driven home convincingly.

Adichie’s account begins with her regaling an incident from her childhood where her best friend calls her a “feminist” – in a tone which she describes as one in which you might accuse someone of being a supporter of terrorism.

She goes on to talk about the varied reactions she gets from people when they learn that she identifies as a feminist : of how feminism is for women who hate men, of how it’s a “western influence” and not “part of our culture”

Growing up in the deeply patriarchal culture of India, this resonated with me greatly. This same “western culture” argument has been used by the ‘culture police’ ad nauseam. It doesn’t even make any sense!

Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture.

I just about sprained my neck during the one hour I spent on this book because, my goodness she raises some really great points and I couldn’t stop nodding my head in agreement.

We hardly ever notice this but right from the beginning, girls are conditioned to please men in every way possible. We are taught to be desirable and not to offend or cause displeasure. I still remember a male relative asking young me not to stare at my computer screen for too long because then I might have to start wearing glasses, and as a result may get rejected by all the good prospective grooms. I was THIRTEEN years old! (and guess what, I did start wearing glasses! …that probably explains the absence of the long line of suitors that would have begged for my hand in marriage otherwise. Damn.)

We don’t teach men to be likeable the same way. Instead, we impose upon them to be tough and hard. Do not show emotions. Man up.

Like Adichie says, this leaves the men with fragile egos which in turn becomes the responsibility of the women in the their lives to cater to.

We have evolved. but our ideas of gender have not evolved very much.

Another appalling societal practice we have: we teach girls to see each other as a competition in the race to be liked by men. In this age, it is paramount that women have each others’ backs and support each other instead of seeing this as a competition. It really is not.

We must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently.

I’m not saying all hope is lost. Today we do not cower down like our grandmothers, or perhaps even mothers did. We are standing up for ourselves. We are inching toward change. I’ve seen this on a small scale in the women I interacted with and on a large scale like the Women’s March 2017 . I believe, a couple of generations down the line, we will see a great deal of change in our ideas of gender roles. Until then, we should keep fighting.

If it were in my capacity, I’d make We Should All Be Feminists a compulsory reading text in all Indian schools. Until that happens, I will urge everyone to watch Adichie’s Ted Talk.

On a lighter note, have you come across the twitter account Manwhohasitall? It’s a hilarious satirical take on how ridiculous the stuff said about/for women would sound, if the genders were swapped.

Sample these :

Read this book as a part of the Diverse-A-Thon 2017.

~ Mathangi.