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  • Joan Carris

Confessions of a Globe-trotting Hypochondriac by Jeremy Leon Hance (2020)

A few books are perfect, even when they’re not. Right now I’m yapping about BAGGAGE, by Jeremy Hance, my newest Damn-Fine-Book that everyone should read. Its writer must be one of the bravest people on Earth—one who has followed his convictions with honesty and passion, all the while combating OCD and other forms of mental instability. (Any professional editor should have repaired the few minor flaws--the lie/lay problem, misuse of myriad, for example--- but ignore my pickiness here.) If you enjoy amusing (often hilarious), thoughtful memoirs, believe in conserving our planet, or have occasionally wondered about your sanity, then this is indeed a perfect book.


From p. 99-- “I have a lot of respect for animal activists. The science is wholly on their side. The more we learn about other species’ cognition and emotions, the more we realize how unspecial humans are…. We now know that fish feel pain, elephants mourn, octopi and puffins use tools, dogs learn hundreds of human words (how many of theirs do we know?) bees can count…and animals have personalities.”

From p. 123-- “Nature is magic…. When my depression is at its worst, I want to go to a little house on the coast or a cabin in the woods. That sounds much healthier than a psych ward. I can’t help but suspect that perhaps…what some have described as a mental illness epidemic in the United States—and around the world—may be partially connected to our alienation from, and destruction of the natural world.”

From p. 103— “Galibi (in Suriname) is an ecotone, an area of transition between two ecosystems…. But in a way, we all live in an ecotone, a transition state connecting two worlds. We live in the transition between our past and our present. A transition between our private and public selves. Humans don’t so much inhabit places as we inhabit the tension, the transition, between various selves.”

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