Book Review of Matt Haig's The Comfort Book
Matt Haig begins The Comfort Book by telling the readers that the structure of his writing makes it a messy read. It has both short and long chapters, lists, quotes, case studies and even the occasional recipes. It is quite random in structure, but the theme that runs through The Comfort Book is one of connection. Everything is connected to everything else – hope to despair, pain to joy and so on. It also reminds us repeatedly that the simple fact of our existence is a reason for hope and joy, that we don’t need to try to be anything other than what we are, or meet anyone else’s expectations. Just be!
Matt Haig’s The Comfort Book is written in a completely non-judgmental tone. It is friendly and warm and welcoming. Part memoir, with a little bit of philosophy for beginners, for me it is a book of substance. It creates a solid and positive basis for building self-love which can help readers avoid faulty thinking or going down a spiral of negativity. Even if you are not feeling low or needing comfort it is a book of hope and I found it frequently amusing. It is definitely a book that enhancing wellbeing and creates a feeling of positivity. I was delighted to read under the heading Wolf, that “Crying releases stress hormones. Swearing increases pain tolerance. Fury can motivate us into action.” The book legitimates both activity and inactivity as a means of managing life.
Book Discussion Questions for Matt Haig's The Comfort Book
- “The cure for loneliness is understanding who you are.” Discuss.
- Somewhere over the Rainbow by Judy Garland and Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles are among the songs that comforted Matt Haig. What books do you find comforting?
- Marcus Aurelius, states that if we are distressed by something external “The pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it.” And this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” Discuss whether this is something that you think you could do.
- “One day this will be over. And we will be grateful for life in ways we never felt possible before.” This is written as a reminder for the tough times.” Discuss.
- “Forgiving other people is great practice for forgiving yourself when the time comes.” Do you think forgiveness is easier if you have a religious faith?
- Matt Haig believes that the act of changing our routines is good for us? To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?
- You have possibly only read Matt Haig’s The Comfort Book, because you are part of a book discussion group. Is this the kind of book that you would generally buy? Why or why not?
- Do think this book will have wider appeal because it was written by a man?
- Albert Camus said “There is no love of life without despair of life.” Matt Haig said he initially found this quote pretentious. What does it mean to you?
Book Club Questions on The Comfort Book (If you haven't read the book)
- “If you aim to be something you are not, you will always fail. Aim to be you.” Would you like to share any life instances when you haven’t behaved authentically?
- Matt Haig also wrote The Midnight Library, which writes about someone’s experiences on the brink of suicide. It is also a feel-good book. Do you like an author to surprise you by writing in different genres, or do you prefer a level of predictability in a writer’s approach to topic and theme?
- “Nothing is stronger than a small hope that doesn’t give up.” What gives you hope?
- One of Matt Haig’s favourite films is The Sound of Music. This is because it shows how love and music and joy can’t be suppressed by the darkest forces of history. What film do you find inspirational and why?
Uplifting Quotes from Matt Haig's The Comfort Book
Are you looking for some uplifting and comforting words that can inspire and motivate you during difficult times? Look no further than Matt Haig’s latest book, ‘The Comfort Book’. Here are some of the top quotes from the book that will provide solace and hope when you need it most.
The power of kindness and compassion
One of the recurring themes in ‘The Comfort Book’ is the power of kindness and compassion. Haig reminds us that acts of kindness, no matter how small they may seem, can have a huge impact on someone’s life. He writes, “I believe in little acts of kindness – the world could use more of them. That could just mean checking up on someone who looks like they are having a bad day and offering some kind words or just being there to listen.” His message is simple yet profound: we all have the ability to make a positive impact on others through expressions of kindness and compassion.
Embracing imperfection and vulnerability
Another theme explored in ‘The Comfort Book’ is the importance of embracing imperfection and vulnerability. Haig acknowledges that we live in a society that often values perfection and strength above all else, but argues that this mentality can be harmful to our mental health. He writes, “We need to embrace the fact that we are all imperfect, vulnerable humans who make mistakes and experience pain.” By accepting our flaws and vulnerabilities, Haig suggests that we can find peace within ourselves and with others. This message is particularly relevant today, as many people struggle with anxiety and feelings of inadequacy in a world that often glorifies perfectionism.
Letting go of expectations and fears
In ‘The Comfort Book’, Matt Haig encourages readers to let go of their expectations and fears. He writes, “Expectations are pre-planned resentments” and argues that by having overly high expectations, we set ourselves up for disappointment and frustration. Similarly, he urges readers to confront their fears rather than avoid them, writing “Fear is a feeling, not a fact …sometimes the only way to conquer fear is to enter it.” By releasing our expectations and facing our fears head on, we can free ourselves from unnecessary stress and anxiety, ultimately finding more comfort in our lives.
Finding solace in nature and the simple things in life
For Matt Haig, one way to find comfort is by connecting with nature and embracing the simple things in life. In ‘The Comfort Book’, he writes, “This is a world of magic and mystery…we are part of nature and not apart from it,” highlighting the importance of recognizing our place in the natural world. He also emphasizes finding joy in ordinary moments, writing “the mundane can be miraculous”. Whether it’s watching a sunset or enjoying a cup of tea, finding inspiration in small things can bring us comfort and remind us of life’s inherent beauty.
Personal Response to Matt Haig's The Comfort Book
“Feel what you feel,” says Matt Haig. “Sometimes it is good to howl.” What’s not to like? Although written with a lightness of touch, the message of The Comfort Book is profound. Connection is all.
Some of the text in The Comfort Book can be viewed as an inspiration for personal activities, such as writing a list of music that is significant or cheer inspiring. I think that this book would be wonderful to dip into as a class tutor, parent or teenager. Obviously, I have no way of knowing if this is true, but my hunch is that this book has helped many people who are in complete despair.