Jamie Tworkowski surprised people when he was hired as a sales rep for Hurley at just 22. He surprised people when he gave that up to start a nonprofit at 26. It would seem he has continually surprised people throughout his life. Following his life over the last decade, Tworkowski speaks with honesty, admittedly wearing his heart on his sleeve as he documents career changes, moving, and his relationships, both romantic and platonic. This vulnerability shows through on every page of his new book, If You Feel Too Much, due out May 26th, 2015.
The scary part is, having heard him speak many a time, I can practically hear his voice in my head; that’s how he writes–the way that he speaks. I can hear the softness of his voice, encouraging a mass of people; telling them that it’s okay to ask for help, and inviting them to fight for their dreams, welcoming them to midnight. Reading this collection of musings, of stories, and blog entries, and of the feelings that keep Tworkowski awake at night, shape “the book before the one that people were expecting.”
The joy of If You Feel Too Much is not only seeing that there are people out there whose brains process things the way yours do, but it’s in the look at the man behind the curtain; at the way his brain works and how his story, interlaced with those of the people around him, has lead him to where he is today.
My only disappointment with the book is that it seems to be more of a collection of Tworkowski’s blog posts, which, although well-written, have already technically been published. However, it is the interjections of private stories and essays that make you want to read those blog posts in print. They’re what guide the story, leading you through the last decade or so flawlessly.It’s strange to go back into someone else’s memories and wonder, “What was I doing then?” or even to read memories of the same night in the same place from a different vantage point.
To say that If You Feel Too Much is insightful would be an understatement. Not only does the book tell a story (in fact, it tells many), but it opens a dialogue. Through self-reflection and pensive, restless nights, Tworkowski welcomes readers the way Anis Mojgani welcomes the audience at Heavy & Light, inviting them to walk through his story with him, to take a stroll through his mind and his life and see the things that make him a person, battling his own struggles and celebrating his triumphs just like everybody else.
This book, or collection of “sprints,” as Jamie refers to them, has a humanity. It isn’t scripted. It isn’t propaganda to make you believe in his cause. It is the story and the feelings of a man who has become a voice for people that have long since been encouraged to stay quiet.
It is more than the movement, more than the fortunes in his life, or the misfortunes.
It is more than a shot at “relating to your audience.”
If You Feel Too Much is a collection of stories and musings that remind us that it’s okay to not always be okay. It’s okay to be human. It’s okay to ask for help or to take a moment to catch our breath.
Unlike many books of this nature, it doesn’t take on a self-absorbed tone. In fact, the book seems to showcase just how interlaced our lives are with others, even when we feel most isolated, presenting Tworkowski’s constant message: “People need other people.”
I will never really know how Jamie Tworkowski does it; how he connects with people and gets up on stage or sits down at the computer and knows exactly what to say to make people feel something. But I do know that this man and his voice will stand out amongst the crowd when we think about the people who made an impact on this generation.