The Wrong Way to Save Your Life: Essays by Megan Stielstra

Into the Wild

Read The Wrong Way to Save Your Life: Essays Online Free - From an important new American writer comes this powerful collection of personal essays on fear, creativity, art, faith, academia, the Internet, and justice.

In this poignant and inciting collection of literary essays, Megan Stielstra tells stories to ward off fears both personal and universal as she grapples toward a better way to live. In her titular piece “The Wrong Way To Save Your Life,” she answers the question of what has value in our lives—a question no longer rhetorical when the apartment above her family’s goes up in flames. “Here is My Heart” sheds light on Megan’s close relationship with her father, whose continued insistence on climbing mountains despite a series of heart attacks leads the author to dissect deer hearts in a poetic attempt to interrogate her own feelings about mortality. 

Whether she's imagining the implications of open-carry laws on college campuses, recounting the story of going underwater on the mortgage of her first home, or revealing the unexpected pains and joys of marriage and motherhood, Stielstra's work informs, impels, enlightens, and embraces us all. The result is something beautiful—this story, her courage, and, potentially, our own.

Intellectually fierce and viscerally intimate, Megan Stielstra's voice is witty, wise, warm, and above all, achingly human.

“Stielstra is a masterful essayist.”—Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist and Hunger


Title : The Wrong Way to Save Your Life: Essays
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0062429205
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 304 pages


Rachel rated it ★★★★★

August 10, 2017

Oh man, this book. The five biggest stars for this brilliant essay collection that is so real, true, and important. It tackles so many issues: motherhood, education, prejudice and white privilege, gun control, happiness, fear, love, writing, the current political climate, etc. etc. Seriously, it's...

Carolyn rated it ★★★★★

August 10, 2017

I have a lot to say about this but I'll have to come back Monday or Tuesday to do it. ETA: I WASN'T EXPECTING A MEMOIR. OK, wait, let me backtrack a few... BACK, back back, back in the day when I first moved to Chicago, this cool organization 2nd Story put on a two-week festival in I think the spri...

Jason rated it ★★★★★

August 28, 2017

The title is a bit misleading because Stielstra's certainly helped me through a rough week. Maybe the book didn't save my life, but it could. I could see it. It's a light in the darkness. If everybody put a quarter of the passion, care, and empathy that bleeds out of every single sentence in this...

Tom rated it ★★★★★

August 31, 2017

This is the best book I've read this year. I wasn't excited about a book of essays, but these aren't stodgy. They're fast and smart, moving, gut-wrenching, and funny as hell. Stielstra is a surgeon, and an artist--she opens her life and her heart to us, and does what the best art is supposed to d...

Sara rated it ★★★★★

August 01, 2017

One hundred million stars, because this book is so important. I will come back to it so many times, I already know. As a reader, as a writer, as a teacher, as one-day mom, as a human being, Megan's words feel like they belong in my very soul. What a writer, what a light in this world. If you're w...

Wendy C. rated it ★★★★★

May 25, 2017

Beautiful, angry, wise, & funny. You want this woman in your corner. These essays convey warmth & heartache & movement through fear in Megan's signature compelling voice. Brava! Thank you for making me laugh & cry & FEEL.

Kate rated it ★★★★★

September 14, 2017

It's not perfect, but it's still pretty great. We got off to a rough start, Megan Stielstra and I. There were some brilliant essays but also some clunky lines that dragged the book out of "relatable essay" land and into "pretentious academic" territory. And the chapter "Stand Here to Save Lives,"...

Ann rated it ★★★★☆

August 14, 2017

Approaching this book, I would remember and then forget that it is a series of essays. The essays repeated themselves and I wanted to shout out that I already knew that information! Yet the essays are meant to stand on their own. When viewed that way, I could appreciate the sheer strength of each...

chelka rated it ★★★★☆

August 06, 2017

These essays aren't comedic, but I still laughed. They aren't exactly "deep," but they're still thought-provoking. They're not ground-breaking, but they still feel important. Stielstra writes about being a daughter, a mom, and a teacher; about education and about checking her white-lady privilege...

Karen rated it ★★★★☆

August 25, 2017

Megan Stielstra's collection of essays is about fear -- her own personal fears and the fear she feels in the world around her. Some essays are more traditional narrative styles, while she tackles other social issues (like guns on college campuses) in others. Stielstra's work is new to me, and I'm...

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