Book #41

Boldly Going Nowhere by Steven McKinnon

Shy, geeky, lonely and running full-speed in the fast lane to nowhere, Steven McKinnon is stuck in a rut. He hates getting out of bed in the morning. He hates being a burden on his friends and family. And he hates himself for letting life slip through his fingers.
‘Sounds like you need a girlfriend,’ says one of his mates one night down the pub. It proves to be the call to action Steven needs to get him into gear on the path towards happiness. But what happens when you embark on a journey of self-discovery and don’t like what you find? What happens when you beat the odds and actually make things worse? And even more terrifying – what do you do when you manage to convince someone to like you?

It's strange how books sometimes come along at exactly the right moment. As I sit here struggling with various aspects of life, I have to thank Steven (note: I can't do my usual 'refer to author by surname' here as I feel I now know Steven in depth, and calling him McKinnon would be too strange) for asking me to read his book. Despite his struggles and low points, it's great to see him deal with these logically, and come out the other end, albeit slightly scathed.

We follow Steven through a few years of his life, experiencing some of the best and worst moments a man in his early twenties can go through. Failed relationships, a career slump, and seeing friends get married as he tries to coast through life was all too familiar for me, as I'm sure it'll be for many readers.

A warm and endearing voice, Steven really had me as invested in his success, and as devastated at his setbacks as he was. It doesn't read as a moany diatribe on how the world's unfair; he's understanding of others, caring, and most importantly, sincere. I particularly liked his analysis of 'Nice Guys' - those who blame women, and only women, for their lack of a romantic partner. We all know one.

The story is littered with hilarious little anecdotes, and witty remarks; these avoid the doom and gloom corners of anxiety, and make Steven's journey so relatable, you'll feel he's an old friend by the final page.

Steven sums up his novel with the most gorgeous message of positivity; if there's something you want to do, no matter how frightening this may seem to you, go out and do it. He tells you that even the smallest of steps will make you feel better, that working towards your goals can create the best feelings of achievement you can experience. His steps to success began simply by forcing himself to take them; this is inspiring to me, and something I plan to start as soon as I can.

This is a very brave account of a man's battle with life alongside mental health. He's very open and honest about his feelings and the roots of them, and I feel more of this courage from all of us could only be beneficial to the stigma attached to these types of feelings.