Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel Book Review

"Hell is the absence of people you long for."
-Station Eleven

Station Eleven is an incredible, poignant compilation of human
vulnerability and strength.

5/5 Beans


Quite like the majority of characters in Emily Mandel's Station Eleven, I can't quite wrap my head around what I felt after walking through the "end of the world". But I know what I felt was good, and beautiful and somewhat nostalgic for an uncertain future that will most likely never exist (or could it?). 

And I can say that until now, I've never read a book that's successfully held my attention while jumping back and forth in time and space so frequently. Mandel managed to weave between characters and time while maintaining a cohesive, seamless plot. Never once did I feel lost or confused. And as I flipped through the pages I felt that every word had purpose and meaning, and nothing was ever sprinkled in for frivolous decoration, although that's easily the route that the author could've taken. 

The narrative begins in present day Toronto, at a theatre production of King Lear. And after a famous actor collapses to his death on stage, confusion and chaos ensue, but not for the reasons you think. His untimely death just happens to coincide with the arrival of a mutated flu strain that will soon wipe most of the world’s population from the face of the earth. 

I can easily say without a doubt that Station Eleven is now in one of my top ten reads of all time.  
I cared about every single character. And I think it’s hard to maintain likability and importance while jumping through different narratives and time periods. But Emily managed to do this beautifully.  As a huge fan of sci-fi and dystopian storytelling, I can’t recommend this book enough. Mandel does a fantastic job of investigating human thought and habit while giving us enough action and cliff hangers to keep us turning the pages. Station Eleven is also filled to the brim with poetic one liners, a special gift for any thoughtful reader.

It looks like the rights to this book have already been purchased to be made into a film a few years back, and I’m hoping and praying that whoever directs this film does it justice. Because boy, what a beautiful story based on what seem to be life's simple questions:

If the world ended tomorrow, what would you miss the most?
What would you remember and what would you choose to forget?
Would you start over, or choose to hang onto the past?

5/5 Beans

"Okay, say you go into the break room," she said, "and a couple people you like are there, say someone's telling a funny story, you laugh a little, you feel included, everyone's so funny, you go back to your desk with a sort of, I don't know, I guess an afterglow would be the word? You go back to your desk with an afterglow, but then by four or five o'clock the day's just turned into yet another day, and you go on like that, looking forward to five o'clock and then the weekend and then your two or three annual weeks of paid vacation time, day in a day out, and that's what happens to your life.

-That's what passes for a life, I should say. That's what passes for happiness, for most people-
they're like sleepwalkers," she said, "and nothing ever jolts them awake."

-Station Eleven


All Used Up

Photo by Hernan Sanchez

I wanted to write some sort of flowery feel good post about fall. Because let’s face it, who doesn’t love the season of ugly ugg boots and ratty grandpa sweaters? If you don’t love fall I’m pretty sure we can’t be friends. This is the season of cozy, all wrapped up, not going no where for nobody season. An introverts dream. MY dream.

Anyways that was supposed to be the point of this post. But I can’t sit here and lie to my readers. 

Truth is I wanna be cozy wrapped up in sweaters sippin’ hot cocoa til my lips turn blue. But I can’t seem to chill. I want to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Doesn’t make sense I know but that’s how I feel. 

I feel like I write about this over and over but I’ll keep venting to this online journal of sorts until it writes itself away. 

The mind is a very powerful tool, that can also be used as a weapon. Your negative thoughts can creep in and turn your mind against you in a matter of seconds. Once a faithful friend, now a backstabbing foe. The mind maps out his plan of attacks. Laying them on one at a time, day by day. Until you wake up and don't recognize who you see in the mirror anymore.

"Who is that person?" You whisper to yourself. Only to see that the reflection mimics exactly what you do.

That reflection IS you. 

So, you don't like what you see huh? Me either. Which can only mean it’s time to take steps towards some change, towards some good ole’ fashion soul cleansing:

1. Watch what you feed your soul

There is so much darkness in the world. Really there is. You don’t have to search to find it. It crawls through your twitter feed and it’s sprinkled throughout your next favorite Netflix binge. Don’t feed from it though. Don’t let it fuel your day. 

2. It’s okay to take it slow

When there are days you can’t seem to make it out of bed, don’t punish yourself for it. Take care of your body and love your body. Listen to it. Eat when your hungry and sleep when your tired. 

3. You don’t have to be okay all of the time

I’m the best when it comes to faking a smile. THE ABSOLUTE BEST I SHOULD WIN AN ACADEMY AWARD. But seriously, stop. Faking it will make you even more tired and more worn out and more tired of the world you live in. Learn how to be more transparent with the people in your life who are willing to listen (I’m learning this too).

4. You are not on this earth to please everyone.


5. Make time for yourself. 

Last night I put in a Pixar movie and grubbed on popcorn and jalapeno peppers. I’m more than okay with this and will not apologize for it. 

So this post is a little bit all over the place. But thank you for bearing with me. Thank you for peeking in on a little bit of my soul. Remember to take of yourself.

Remember that when your all used up, there's peace to be found in rest. 



You’ll Never Be Good Enough, Here’s Why:

Lately I’ve become…frustrated. I guess that’s the appropriate word. However it’s used so commonly it desensitizes everything I’m currently feeling. Like when your mom used to make you go to school even though you swore you were sick. You could’ve been on your death bed yet she’d still say, “If you‘re well enough to sit up and watch cartoons you’re well enough to get to class.” 

Dang school. Did we ever really learn anything? Do I know how to file my taxes without the help of Turbo Tax? No.

Anyways so yeah. Here I am, frustrated with the way things are currently going in my life. The world isn’t ending and I’m not living in a box on the side of the road. But creatively, mentally, I feel that I’ve hit rock bottom. There is a wall that constantly makes an appearance at the front of my brain. Cutting off all thoughts that just might be the saving grace in all of this. But it doesn’t matter, because I can’t get to them. 

I feel. Stuck. 

Like the last kid chosen for the dodgeball team. I would never be good enough to be first. 

not good enough not good enough not good enough.

Everything I’ve been spitting out for the past few months has been trash. I don’t publish it and I don’t tell anyone about it. I just let it sit on my bedside table as it takes up space, slowly rotting.  A time bomb I can’t diffuse. 

not good enough not good enough not good enough.

After being tormented by my half written stories for too long. I finally ask myself. Why aren’t I good enough? Because let’s face it…you can only wander around like this for so long before you go mad. I faced myself in the mirror. Not figuratively, I really did this. Just like in the movies. I examined myself in the bathroom mirror and tried desperately to break down the science of why I was stuck. And my brain started to do that thing it does when it feels threatened. It lies and comes up with excuses and starts comparing my progress to others. 

failure, faker, you’re a fake.

Ah. Comparison. That little bugger could very well be the death of me if I let it. And this summer I almost let it. 
It creeps in and tells you that if Sarah and Allie and Anthony and Jasmine are doing it and they’re all younger than you, then what the heck are you doing with your life? They are so successful and they're pursuing their dreams in ways you could literally only imagine because you’ll never make it that far. They are all doing this NOW and you’re sitting here staring at a piece of paper while you wait for your leftover pizza to stop spinning around in the microwave. 
They are waiting on their private jet to arrive and you are waiting on a MICROWAVE to ding. Of course success isn't measured in private jets but let's face it, this stuff can eat away it you over time.


People. When I say comparison is a doozy. Believe me. Comparing your journey to the journey of someone else’s will slowly start to do enough damage until one day you’ll wake up and completely, totally hate yourself. And the worst thing is. You’ll have no clue why or how it began. You’ll just know that every time you try to do YOUR thing you’ll seem to trip and fall. And each time it gets harder and harder to get back up because you can’t seem to get past the other people who are running miles past you. Jumping hurdles even. What you DON’T see is all the crap they had to get through to make it where they are now. 

You don’t see the struggle. The absolute worst part of their lives. The days they wanted to quit and say this is TOO MUCH I CAN’T ANYMORE. This book I’m trying to write is NOT worth it and only 3 people will read it and I will never make a difference and WHO CARES and SHUT THE CURTAINS and I’M GOING BACK TO BED and all their motivation is gone.

My friends, comparison is just a lie all wrapped up in a fancy suit.


Focus on your journey and YOUR journey alone. Do better because you can do better, not because you think someone else’s stuff is better. Crank out better quality projects because YOU know YOUR standards could be higher, not because Sally’s making a profit on an idea she thought of in grade school. Do without the fear of failing. Do without the need of comparison, and focus on YOU. This is your time to be selfish, because you’ll never be good enough if you’re always looking over your shoulder at someone else’s life…



Norway stole my heart, again.

Coming to Norway is like seeing someone you love that you haven’t seen in a very long time. Tears fill your eyes when you arrive and you make sure to study every detail of that person. You memorize their smile and the unique sound of their laugh. You take lots of pictures and stay up til 3am talking, exchanging thoughts. But no matter how hard you try you’ll never capture the exact way you feel when you’re right there beside them. And when it’s time to go, you cry because you realize that there’s a part of you that will be missing once you get back home. Everything else will seem like a counterfeit of the real thing. And that hole in your heart won’t be complete until you see that person again. That’s how I feel whenever we visit Norway.

The people we meet quickly become family and when we have dinner at the table, I get a little bit homesick for a place I've never called home,

because I know it'll be a while before I'm back here.

Lamb and potatoes. SO GOOD.

Lamb and potatoes. SO GOOD.

Every table had so much detail.

Every table had so much detail.

Photo of Siggjo Mountain from Wikipedia

Photo of Siggjo Mountain from Wikipedia

Never have I felt so invincible!

It's official.

It's official.

My Norwegian sis and mum, Katrine and Torill. Love you two so much! 

My Norwegian sis and mum, Katrine and Torill. Love you two so much! 

Home of the best fish soup.

If I woke up every morning to this...

Mama Torill 

Mama Torill 

I held a live crab folks. 

I held a live crab folks.