A Flash-Review of Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

Rachel B. Baxter
3 min readJul 8, 2021
Photo by Rob Hampson on Unsplash

What can I say about his book? It was a like a hug for my mind.

I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book and felt like it was listening to me, but I really felt this way reading Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig.

It was the type of book I didn’t know I needed — didn’t know existed — until it came to me and I read it.

When I first started reading it, what struck me right away was the format. And, honestly, I didn’t love it at first. It came off a bit disjointed, kind of like an unpolished personal blog. I wasn’t sure if I was reading creative nonfiction, some kind of micro-nonfiction, poetry, or a combination of all of these. It felt uncomfortable. And, that was the point. I came to realize this somewhere in the middle of the book, around chapter 6. Then, I began to settle in. I liked being in this brainspace. It was messy and real, it was familiar, it felt like home.

At this point I really began to absorb the truths the author was expressing. I empathized with his mental health struggles and related to his inner voice that was coming through so naturally in the text. He wasn’t presenting anything groundbreaking — in fact, it was all information that we know all too well. Our reliance on (and addiction to) technology throws gasoline on the fire of our anxiety (a normal human feeling). We’ve heard this before. We’ve ignored it before.

After reading a few chapters, I decided to delete the apps for Twitter and Facebook off of my phone. I decided to pull the plug on the mindless scrolling, the constant exposure to advertisers, and the numerous rabbit holes I frequently found myself going down. Is my mental health any better for it? I don’t know yet, honestly. But, funny thing: I haven’t missed those apps one bit.

I enjoyed reading Notes on a Nervous Planet right before bed. It has been nice to fall asleep with affirmations from this book in place of the anxious thoughts that usually fill my brain at night. Reading it, I felt I wasn’t alone in my struggles with worry. I felt like there was someone out there who has been there before and has made it to the other side.

I was glad to find out that I wasn’t the only one who sometimes gets painfully overwhelmed in supermarkets. (I…

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Rachel B. Baxter

A few good stories, a thousand different versions. My dreams are written in form. Author of Mother Scorpion. http://rbbaxter.com