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Notes to Self: Essays

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  5,690 ratings  ·  503 reviews
`The person who loves the addict exhausts and renews their love on a daily basis' In this vivid and powerful collection of essays, the first non- fiction book published by Tramp Press, Emilie Pine boldly confronts the past to better understand herself, her relationships and her role in society. Tackling subjects like addiction, fertility, feminism and sexual violence, and ...more
Paperback, 183 pages
Published July 26th 2018 by Tramp Press (first published July 19th 2018)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
I cannot understand why this book of essays is so highly acclaimed. Although Emilie Pine is a good writer, this book was an absolute chore to read.

I found myself repeatedly judging the author. I could not help judging her neglectful, selfish parents either. I wanted to feel compassion for all of them, but I simply felt annoyed. Was I really expected to feel sorry for Pine because she had to wear hand me downs rather than designer branded clothing as a child? First. World. Problems. I had little
Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

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When I was in college, one of my (male) instructors said something to the effect that premenstrual syndrome was a first-world construct and largely psychosomatic, and that women in "other" countries didn't have this problem. Setting aside that this statement is problematic for several reasons, I remember hearing this and being utterly flummoxed. It was the first time it occurred to me that not only could I be more knowledgeable about
"I am afraid of being the disruptive woman. And of not being disruptive enough. I am afraid, but I'm doing it anyway."

I'd like to take Emilie Pine for coffee, and have a real, long chat about the taboos that are apparently best left unspoken in regards to women today. Personally, I embrace these kind of taboos, and I am a believer of breaking the mould. I like to tell people how immensely shitty I'm feeling due to my period, or, how nervous I get when I'm about to perform, or, how it aggravates
“I am afraid of being the disruptive woman. And of not being disruptive enough.”

Emilie Pine, a lecturer at University College Dublin, has written a mostly engaging, honest, and occasionally brave book of personal essays about important experiences in her life. The collection opens with a very strong piece about her father’s 2013 alcoholic health crisis on the Greek Island of Corfu. (Given the state of Greek hospitals, this is not the place where you want to experience a medical emergency.)
4.5/5. I might be doing the book an injustice by saying this, but reading this felt a bit like reading the author's diary — that is to say, a very well written, very nuanced and admirably self-aware diary. Reading this just felt very intimate.
In these essays, Emilie Pine takes a deep-dive into her own life, writing about the experiences and tragedies that have shaped her upbringing and her more recent years — her father's alcoholism, her struggle with infertility, her parent's separation
Niall O'neill
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have never read anything like this, so honest, so bare. It reaches into the deepest recesses of what it means to be human, the places we do not even let ourselves go, let alone others. It has made me think differently about the world, and that is the greatest thing we can find in writing.
John Braine
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can't do justice to such a finely written book with my comparably basic grasp of English. I adore books like this; it's a raw, honest and insightful look inwards and outwards in the face of life's many knocks. And so beautifully written. Not beautiful as in beautifully crafted florid prose, but beautiful in the truth and feeling conveyed over the course of each essay, each one adding a layer to the previous ones. In some ways, this reminded me of one of my favourites books in the last decade; ...more
This is a competent essay collection and it's not difficult to see why it's gotten so much critical acclaim; it's topical, to the point, and easily digested. Some of these essays really worked for me; the standouts being the opening essay, Notes on Intemperance where Pine discusses her father's alcoholism and illness, and Something About Me - more on this one in a second - but ultimately this essay collection just fell a bit flat for me.

My problem with Notes to Self was that I never felt like
Dec 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
I was so very hyped for this book - on paper it sounds like everything I love in non-fiction (themes of feminism and bodily autonomy amongst other thing) and it came so very highly recommended that I was very sure I would love it. I did not love it. It's a perfectly fine book, interesting and important, but it also does not feel like it offers anything new. I found Pine's language straight-forward and bordering on boring, and her ideas not particularly groundbreaking. This feels like a mean way ...more

This is a wonderful and honest collection of essays, mainly on the various difficulties of being a woman but also how it is to be a child of an alcoholic and absent father. It is written in clear, easy to understand prose, so the impact of each essay is in what is being said, not how (this is in no way a bad thing). I would recommend this collection to any human being but I wish it were men in particular who would read this. There are a lot of things here that women share with each other
Originally released by Ireland’s Tramp Press in 2018, this was named the An Post Irish Book of the Year 2018 and has now been re-released by mainstream publishers. You expect the average collection to contain maybe 10 or 12 essays, so the fact that there are only six here accounts for why they all tend to drag at a certain point. While I think most of them could be made snappier, they remain bold, accessible feminist takes on the body and expectations for women’s lives. I especially liked “Notes ...more
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Phenomenal. There wasn't a weak essay in this debut collection from Irish author Emilie Pine. The subject matter is incredibly personal - her parents' separation, her father's alcoholism, her miscarriage, her own relationship with her body, among others - and each essay is revelatory in some way. I found myself relating closely to some of her experiences, too, and found it refreshing to read another person's writing on things I didn't acknowledge I felt myself (until I saw it written down). I ...more
Christine (Queen of Books)
Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an e-arc of this title for review.

This is the type of book I LOVE - We are Never Meeting in Real Life, Shrill, You'll Grow Out of It - I am so here for women writing about things we don't often hear discussed. I even shed a tear reading the author's note.

But then the essays...just fell flat for me. We've had some similar experiences, so it should have been easy for me to relate. It wasn't. I'd have DNFed this if I weren't hoping for something positive
Johann (jobis89)
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. An unflinchingly honest collection of essays. I loved her discussions about fertility, addiction and the pressures within academia. Full review to come.
Laura King
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely heart breaking. Unflinchingly honest and written so beautifully.
Johanna Lundin
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
With such honesty, vulnerability, courage and strength Pine writes about her life. One of the most poignant and brilliant reads for me.
Dec 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Pine writes well and writes honestly, but I can't say this book has stuck with me at all. It was good while I was reading it, but the moment I finished it I forgot about it.
Emer O'Toole
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This cut me to the quick - so close to the bone. Close to the bone for many people, I would imagine - for those of us with addicted parents, fraught relationships with our bodies, untold stories of teenage vulnerability and exploitation, and complex struggles to find that non-place between success and contentment. The writing's electric. It's sharp and clean as it carves through unstable, messy material; it strives for resolution, order, but it also refuses these things. It's beautiful.
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've taken a few of Dr Pine's classes, and she's been one of my favourite lecturers since I started college. She had a knack for making me really enjoy thinking about/discussing books that I didn't even like reading, so when I saw all the buzz about Notes to Self it was a foregone conclusion that I was going to read it, and I went with the expectation that I'd at least like it/be interested in it. I was only wrong insomuch as I completely loved it. A few times I had to stop in the middle of a ...more
Alan Teder
Notes for Everyone

Devastatingly raw and life-affirming. It is tagged as Essays, but reads somewhat like a non-fiction novel / memoir as there is a definite flashback/flash-forward biographical progression to the author gradually revealing more & more of her past and then stating her mantra for the future. The concluding pages were some of the most uplifting and inspiring things that I've read this year.

This is not yet generally available in Canada (or likely North America) except as an
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Personal essays; I know, I know. But these ones are actually good. Not only are they beautifully written and observed, they're actually about something. Some essay collections feel like the writer thought 'need to write an essay, hmm, what can I write about...'; Emilie Pine seems to approach it from the other way. Each of these essays feel vital, like she had to write them. I loved this book and I can't wait to read more from Pine.
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely the best thing I have read in a very long time.....
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really beautifully written book of essays. She's so refreshingly honest and interesting. There were a few essays that did not resonate, but most of it felt so raw and true but not too in your face with a catalogue of traumas.
Melissa Stacy
I won a Goodreads ARC Giveaway for this memoir/collection of personal essays by debut author Emilie Pine. Titled "Notes to Self" on my ARC paperback copy, the back cover states that the expected publication date for this book is June 2019.

On a prose level, this book is very good. Ms. Pine is a fine writer. "Notes to Self" is also a very short book. While the content is often very sad, this is a pretty quick read.

Here is a list of the essays in this book, and their general content:


1. "Notes
Kasa Cotugno
Emilie Pine has decided to exorcise her demons by writing about them, not an unusual path for a writer, a scholar, a professor. The result is a very mixed bag which although is from her own experience, in some cases comes across as generic. It opens with the strongest piece, one concerning the efforts of her and her sister in getting treatment for their father who has collapsed in Corfu due to repercussions resulting from his lifelong alcoholism. The Emilie in this chapter overcomes revulsion, ...more
Basic B's Guide
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Note to Self @dialpress. Available June 11th.

Note to self: Do not attempt to read and relax in a pool with children around.

Another solid essay collection recommendation coming at ya’ll. This debut shares a collection of events that left a mark on Pine’s life. As evident in the synopsis this is filled with triggers. If you read the synopsis you should be able to determine if you can handle this short but impactful read. I most definitely had a good cry during the infertility chapter. As always
Aug 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
Emilie Pine's essays are frank and vivid, and I was completely engaged by this book. I read it over the course of a day, which is rare for me. Though they are marketed as "essays", this book feels to me more like a slightly disjointed memoir: each section focuses on a different aspect of Pine's life, but doesn't talk about the subjects in a broader context. I would associate essays with a wider study of a subject, whereas Pine's essay are strictly personal. At times, this is excellent -- I was ...more
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really didn’t connect with this book at all. It read more like an adolescent diary than essays by an academic and I kept thinking - who commissioned this and why did they believe it worthy of publishing; and also - why has this one awards? Her experiences are not unique, similar stories have been told before and better, and she never seems to make the connection between previous self destructive behaviours (eating disorders, drug & alcohol abuse) and her subsequent fertility problems. Sad ...more
Molly Ferguson
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a Christmas gift and I tore through it, careening through these intense and engulfing essays and feeling more and more that every woman I know should read this. The first, devastating, essay about Pine's father's alcoholism, was searing and raw and hard to read. The second, a long journey through her infertility struggles, offered me more insight on this condition than I have ever had. She keeps plunging ahead, including an essay about her "wild child" teen years and sexual violence, ...more
Darcy Gregg
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book and it's going on to the shelf to recommend to friends. Honest account of her relationship with her parents and sister. Her trials of trying for a baby and how she was a wild child. I find when I am honest with people about my own childhood and relationship with my parents people often are uncomfortable, so to hear someone else be so forthright it is freeing for the reader/listener. People with good honest, non divorced parents may feel this is more like fiction but ...more
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