Book review: Life is Tough, But So Are You | Briony Benjamin
By Natalie O’Driscoll
Viral video producer Briony Benjamin was a few months into a new job when she started feeling crappy… All. The. Time. Doctors told her she was just stressed and should rest more and learn to meditate. But it turns out she had cancer. All through her body.
Turning the camera on herself, Briony started documenting her journey in the short video ‘You Only Get One Life’. Its raw portrayal of her experience went viral, touching millions.
In her first book ‘Life is Tough, But So Are You’ Briony shares some of the important lessons learnt through her illness and recovery – everything from how to assemble your A-Team in times of crisis and learning to make friends with the pain, to happy hacks for cutting yourself some slack.
When a book starts off with the heading “Some crap things you might be experiencing right now (Shittiest list in the history of the world)”, you can be fairly certain you’re in for a fairly frank and no-nonsense portrayal of human struggle with an element of humour thrown into it.
The rest of the book certainly follows suit. A brightly coloured, cartoonish layout brings Briony’s bubbly personality to light, against a backdrop of crisis-mode tips and stories around Briony’s cancer diagnosis, treatment, recovery, setbacks and victory. It’s all real-world, totally practical, at times moving, and definitely inspiring.
It’s also not just for those suffering with cancer. The vast majority of the book’s content offers advice and empathy for those going through a myriad of life’s issues, including overwhelm and burnout, divorce, anxiety, fertility issues, broken hearts, chronic illness, job loss, grief and more. It’s essentially a one stop ‘how-to’ guide for getting through life’s shittiest moments.
The book includes tips you may easily find elsewhere, including how to find mindful moments, charge your batteries, listen to your body, not being afraid to ask for help, finding something to do with your hands, cultivating patience and journaling, among others.
But really it’s the warm and empathetic delivery that makes the reader feel seen, and Briony’s infectious enthusiasm and positive encouragement that makes the reader feel inspired.
Well worth the read at any point during life’s various ups and downs, ‘Life is Tough, But So Are You’, will leave you with a smile on your dial and at least a handful of things to add to your daily routine.