How Books, Movies, and Music Can Get You Through a Hard Time

Posted by Cybil on December 19, 2016


Goodreads asked Jason Diamond, the author of the new memoir Searching for John Hughes: Or Everything I Learned from Watching '80s Movies, about how the pop culture—from books to his beloved John Hughes' teen movies—can change your life.


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"I was on my own when I was 16. I found myself in a number of different living situations, like sleeping on an old couch in a friend’s cold basement one week to some other, maybe less desirable set of accommodations the next (moldy sleeping bag on a cold floor, anyone?).

Combine that with my struggles with depression and all the fun things that go along with being a teenager, and let’s just say I had some pretty rough moments, and that I’m honestly shocked I made it through. It didn’t register with me then, but the things I did have, books, movies, and music, helped me. They weren’t shelter or food, but I look back and realize now the things that kept me going and I cherish them.

I didn’t have a permanent place to call my own, but what I did have was old paperbacks I could buy from the Salvation Army for a quarter or two, a handful of mixtapes I carried around with me to listen to, and maybe most importantly, the films of John Hughes.

I had all these things that interested me but also felt like they kept me company when I needed them most. Going to see punk bands at places like a smoky old bowling alleys and sweltering basements in the suburbs, the books I found myself reading and loving, and the fact that I could almost always count on seeing Ferris Bueller or Pretty in Pink playing on TV if I just flipped around long enough.


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I could get real down and into some dark places, but found I could find my way back by experiencing and often re-experiencing bits of pop culture. And today, although I’m happier and steadier, I still always need and search out those new novels and films to help take my mind away from the bleakness of everyday life.

The books and records and films you love aren’t a remedy or cure for what might bring you down, but I know for sure I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have those things. Even if it’s for the length of a Ramones song you play over and over, an entire movie, or a Grace Paley short story, these things that others create can really change your life in small ways that you might not even realize at the moment."

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message 1: by Caroline (new)

Caroline So true. I cannot imagine life without Music or Books.


message 2: by Peggy (new)

Peggy Zeigler I too look to books, movies and music. And didn't realize till I read the above that yes, they are helping me through the last few months, the last couple of years. My husband was going through an illness, and recently passed, watching the shows we watched together, reading to take my mind off of things, listening to music, yes some make me cry, but it helps.


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