Submitted by Joanna Manning.
Tacoma – As a child, Joanna Manning briefly believed that God was trying to kill her by poisoning her saliva, and her anxieties only escalated from there. In her new collection of humorous essays, Now I Understand You, Manning traces the origins of her obsessive-compulsive disorder to a few early “misunderstandings” with her childhood church before delving into her general anxieties about things like socializing, aging, and backpacking in cougar country.
“The particulars of my life—especially the rituals I developed to cope with my OCD as a child—have often been a bit on the absurd side,” Manning said, “but the pieces in this collection will still be broadly relatable. We’re all anxious about something after all.”
Though many of the essays are light-hearted, Manning does not ignore the painful aspects of life.
“I find that humor is best when it’s grounded in something weighty if not outright dark. Without that element it can be too sweet to be palatable,” she said. “I’ve tried to strike a balance between light and dark, to be positive in a way that doesn’t seem toxic.”
Reviewer and author David Huddle found that Manning succeeded in striking that balance, noting that Now I Understand You left him “weepy, laughing, and shaking his head.” The book covers the entire range of the human experience and is a sliver of light in dark times.
Find Now I Understand You electronically or in print (link to Amazon) wherever books are sold.
Joanna Manning is a Pennsylvania native who now calls the Pacific Northwest home. Now I Understand You is her first full-length collection. For more information, visit www.jlmanning.com or follow her on Instagram @j.l.manning.