Review By Gabrielle

Fans of Zachary Levi will enjoy this part memoir, part self help book where he explores mental health issues through his own stories and struggles.

Favourite Quote:

“You are not yourself. You are the story you tell yourself about yourself. And as the author of that story, you have the power to rewrite the ending.”

Goodreads Synopsis: 

I’m not an expert, therapist, pastor, teacher, or monk. I am merely a person going through my own mental and emotional health journey, hoping that I can pass on some of the wisdom and tools that I’d been blessed enough to learn along the way. And I truly believe that if we can help heal the hearts and minds of everyone on earth, we will solve every other problem known to man in the process. — Zachary Levi

Radical Love is the debut memoir from Zachary Levi (Shazam!, American Underdog, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Chuck), which shares his emotional journey through a lifetime of crippling anxiety and depression to find joy, gratitude, and ultimate purpose. Facing the scars of childhood trauma and the voices in his head that told him he would never be enough, Zac recounts the raw yet honest behind-the-scenes story of his family life, career successes, and the personal disappointments that led him to rock bottom and landed him in a therapy center, where he learned to address the underlying issues that preceded his downward spiral.

Radical Love combines witty, touching, and powerful commentary with relatable illustrations to help you on your own path toward mental wellness. With vulnerability and humor, Zac relates the valuable lessons and insights he’s learned so that you can rise from the ashes of trauma and pursue a meaningful life of gratitude.

I’m not really a big celebrity culture type of person. I have no idea what is happening in Hollywood most of the time, and to be honest, I don’t watch a lot of TV or movies. I don’t know that I have ever seen anything Zachary Levi has been in. So it wasn’t from that angle that I was interested in this book. I was more interested in the discussion of mental health, a topic that can be quite taboo and doesn’t get talked about nearly enough in my opinion. 

I was so happy to see a celebrity talk so openly about their own mental health journey. I think if more folks did that, it would become more normalized and people wouldn’t have the same shame surrounding it. We should talk about mental health in the same way we talk about going to the dentist or getting physiotherapy for our knee. No one is ashamed to talk about those things. It is just routine medical stuff. It should be no different when it comes to our mental health. Zachary talks about his own mental health and everything he has been through with a startling honesty. He really doesn’t hold anything back and describes even some very dark moments. He also describes some of the therapeutic techniques he has worked through including what worked for him and what didn’t. Readers can extrapolate from Zachary’s experiences with his practical tips to reframe your thinking.

Fans will enjoy the insight into Zachary’s life from his upbringing, to how he got certain roles, and how he felt working on those projects. If celebrity culture is your thing, this book can also be enjoyed from that perspective.

In the book, Zachary correctly points out how as a society we are in a time of crisis when it comes to our mental health. Treating mental health issues is complex and difficult. Even if you can be open about it and seek help, it is not always covered and can be expensive. Add to that the endless options for treatment and the fact that not all options work for everybody, and you have a quagmire to navigate when you are already not at your best. Zachary offers us hope though through his story and how he persevered and came through the other end stronger and more resilient.

Although I don’t think Zachary covered any new ground in the mental health conversation (which is reasonable considering he is not a doctor or therapist), I applaud his efforts with this book. Sometimes we look at celebrities and think their lives must be awesome, but Zachary shows us that anyone can struggle with their mental health, that no one is immune. I hope his bravery in telling his story reaches a new audience and helps some folks address their own mental health.

Thank you, HarperCollins Canada for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.