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In a market flooded with self-help books, Devrie Donalson’s excellently titled “You’re Gonna Die Alone (& Other Excellent News)” (Blackstone) stands out.
“You might think it is a trite, unimportant, vacant collection of barely-thoughts from a sad, narcissistic internet clown,” she writes of this collection of personal stories designed to address a wide range of issues and emotions.
“You might very possibly be right. But there’s a chance you might find it helpful, too.”
A social media star with 750,000 followers on TikTok, Donalson quit her job as a florist in California in 2012 and moved to Scotland, aged 29, intent on building a new life.
She also wanted to lose her virginity.
Despite a brilliant academic record and a successful career, she still considered herself a failure, at least when it came to sex (or lack of it).
She finally did the deed with a tall, half-Scottish, half-Irish man (“like when you get a swirl cone because you can’t choose between your two favorite flavors, but, like, man version,” she writes).
Even in difficult moments, she manages to find humor.
In the chapter “Scotland, Grief & the Vibrator in my Grandma’s Garage,” for example, Donalson laments her grandmother’s death as she clears her belongings.
“The things we pack away wait for us to come back to them, unchanging while we carry on being human,” she writes.
“We gather stories and heartbreaks, wins and losses, and we show up in garages as very different people than we were when we last decided what we thought was precious enough to save. Sometimes we find love and old friends and very cheap vibrators. Sometimes we find complicated, coiled grief.”
From Tinder and tattoos to rejection and healing, Donalson’s remarkable journey of discovery reveals a woman who has broken free of the baggage that had been weighing her down for so long.
“After all the time I’d spent suffocating my ambition to stay in a safer lane, trying to secure the love and approval of people who mattered to me, and failing, I’d made a decision: I would bet on myself,” she writes.
“And f–k me, it worked.”