Throughout this life, you’re supposed to push yourself outside of your comfort zone to achieve real growth and we all want to grow, right?
If you survive a life-threatening event, you’re expected to live each day thereafter with gratitude and heightened perspective.
It’s these preassigned responses to human experiences that Meghan Daum challenges in her latest collection of personal essays, The Unspeakable: and Other Subjects of Discussion.
Covering topics that range from cream of mushroom soup casserole to waking up from a medically induced coma, Daum’s writing is funny, but not frivolous. I loved her keen recognition of the absurd and her unapologetic honesty. As a fellow Gen Xer, I also relished her many 1970s-80s pop culture references. What I loved most about these essays however, is how moving they were. How they started off so specific and individual and ended with broader truths that left me considering the emotional expectations we have of ourselves.
It’s true that the topics covered in The Unspeakable, aren't the type of thing that people readily talk about. But they are precisely the type of subjects that lead to the best conversations you have with your closest friend. The kind where you can confess to dreading what you're supposed to be looking forward to; Where you can laugh inappropriately and be completely yourself. Maybe not your most becoming self, but your most human self.