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It’s HUG A BOOK and this weekend it’s with Tanya J Peterson
My Life in a Nutshell
Tanya J. Peterson has been on both sides of the proverbial couch, both as a nationally certified counselor and as a client herself. She has worked as a teacher and a counselor in a school for homeless and runaway adolescents, she’s been a play therapist, a leader in her local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and she’s given presentations nationwide about mental health and mental illness. She is also a regular columnist for HealthyPlace.com. It is from this arena that she reaches out to the world, using fiction to increase understanding and empathy; she is the author of two critically acclaimed novels, Leave of Absence and My Life in a Nutshell: A Novel, each featuring characters living with mental illness and addressing themes around mental health.
Details of My Life in a Nutshell
My Life in a Nutshell: A Novel is the story of one man's struggles with debilitating anxiety. Brian Cunningham has severely isolated himself, and while lonely, he feels powerless to change his life. Unexpectedly, his safe little world is invaded by one Abigail Harris, a seven-year-old girl who has bounced from foster home to foster home until recent placement with an aunt and uncle she has never known. Unsure if she can trust her new environment, she turns to Brian. Neither quite knows how to live in the world. Can they possibly help each other?
Available for Kindle & paperback
Now my heart is pounding again. I’m dizzy. I have to get off this bike. I dismount and look around. Where did I even end up? I didn’t pay attention to where I was going. Yet another example of my pathetic irresponsibility. What is saving me is the fact that I’ve lived in this town my entire life and I know it well. I’ve stopped in an area nicknamed Bohemia, and I’m near a joint called Little Bohemia. The place sits between a second-hand clothing shop and a tobacco bar in a four-story brick building. Elaborate batik tapestries cover both of Little Bohemia’s large windows, concealing the danger that lurks within. The mini lights strung around the tapestries warn rather than welcome; their nearly imperceptible flickering sends a code carrying a simple message: run away as fast as you can.
I wish I could heed the warning, but I was ordered to eat, I’m running out of time, and I have no choice. I wipe my sweaty hands on my pants and breathe deeply, waiting for the lightheadedness to pass. I absolutely don’t want to go inside. I don’t enjoy cafés and restaurants. That’s why I take my own food to work. If I could, I would just turn around and go back to work, but I don’t know if Mrs. Clark will still be there. She’ll be disappointed in me if I come back hungry and she hears my stomach growl again. I’m not close enough to home to ride all the way there, eat, and then return to the school in time considering I should only take a thirty-minute break. So I suppose I don’t have a choice. I have to go in. This should be okay, though, as Little Bohemia tends to be more of a lunch and afternoon hang-out. With a deep breath, I swing open the door and step inside.
I was wrong. This isn’t okay. Light fixtures covered in stained glass mosaics descend and hang at various heights. There’s a veritable crowd in here. They’re cackling loudly. The entire atmosphere makes me think I’ve just burst into a coven. My heart is trying to match the speed of light, and it’s beating so hard my chest hurts. There’s a loud crash. I jump. I need to leave I need to leave I need to leave I…
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