Cover Image: Your Therapist Says It’s Magical Thinking

Your Therapist Says It’s Magical Thinking

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me free access to the advanced digital copy of this book.

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Fabulous title; unfortunately, the collection of poems didn't live up to it. The author is very witty at times, but gets bogged down easily. The fact that poetry generally doesn't format well on Kindle or other eBook platforms doesn't help either. Ultimately, the book was occasionally engaging but the language didn't particularly sparkle for me.

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This author is a new instant buy for me. I loved this collection and cannot wait for her next one. This was so raw and beautiful.

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So good!

"Your Therapist Says it's Magical Thinking" is filled with beautiful poems about AHDH and OCD. I think this was an amazing outlet for Sadie to share her thought and feelings with the world. Well done!

Thank You to Sadie McCarney and ECW Press, for the digital ARC provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

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The cover of Your Therapist Says It’s Magical Thinking instantly grabbed my attention. I was invested from the start
with Coping Strategies which is common things people will say to “fix” you, such as Sleep It Off. If only I had the guts for a clever response. One of my favorite remedies for OCD being “to burn incense and eat exactly half of your Cheerios as an offering to the Corn Mother, so she will fill your life with plenty”. McCarney also gave a voice to the women at Surrey County Asylum when Dr Hugh Welch Diamond took photographs of them for “treatment”, I found myself searching for the pictures on Google. This is a quick easy read but definitely raises thought provoking questions on our current culture and what if it was different. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. #NetGalley

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Thanks to Netgalley and ECW Press for the ARC of this!

I have been trying to read more poetry because it’s one genre I don’t pick up a lot of. As someone neurodiverse, with a lot of anxiety, I was hoping the mental health focus of this would make it resonate with me. I didn’t really love it, but I think it was more a me problem than an issue with the poetry. I would definitely try the author again in the future.

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Having firsthand experience with too many initials as mental illness to list, this resonated with me in so many ways! I loved the breakdown of the different parts of the book - especially the last and fantastically weird one!

I feel that anyone who has struggled with mental health - even just fleetingly - would relate to poems here. It seems especially timely after the world lived through collective trauma.

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Readers of modern poetry will appreciate this offering. It's accessible, relevant, and will resonate with much of what young people go through these days and the ways they are navigating the world.

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(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Netgalley.)

Turn Your OCD Rituals into Spells

Your therapist says it’s magical thinking, so you drive for miles under sun-splintered sky and flick the windshield wipers on, off, on,
thirty times. This is your rain dance. Now the crops may grow. [...]
To curse someone, arrange all
the clothing you own in groups of four. The Book of Shadows in your mind says this will make the person barren.
Check your temperature. Pray to the Goddess of Corn. Arrange all your other possessions in groups of four too, and chant so the demon that’s really doing the chanting finally leaves you alone. Light four candles. Click the bathroom latch. Magical thinking is only for the serious witch.


iii. Alternate Timelines

The Best Version

The boy they thought would shoot up the church had only a Nerf gun: foamdarted the pastor and the pale-blue pastor’s wife, and split.
In the kitchen, you find your mom got up early this morning,
made pralines to share with all of her
kids, baked a criss-crossed pie for you
in seven different layers of flavour. Each one is more your favourite than the last.
Everyone understands the nuances of identity as hopscotch, a Rubik’s cube, elementary math. As always you get a ride to school from Jenna’s Dad’s rainbow carpool unicorn, Samantha,
but today when Samantha drops you off, you lose your grip on her slippery, manyhued tail and hit asphalt hard, skin your ever-nuanced knee.
In every timeline there is asphalt, asphalt, and in every one the knee-hurt is both real and unreal.


Some water for the dumpster fire in your head.


If the cover hadn't already sold me on YOUR THERAPIST SAYS IT'S MAGICAL THINKING: POEMS, the title certainly would have. This is collection that's every bit as colorful and weird as its cover promises. YOUR THERAPIST is comprised of three parts which, while distinct, blend well together. Mostly.

Part 1, "Coping Strategies," features pieces inspired by actual self-care advice the author has received - all of it cringe ("choose to be different than you are"), some of it downright contradictory ("don't think about death" / "think about death"). It's from the beguiling "Turn Your OCD Rituals into Spells" that the book's title is derived. Anyone who's dealt with mental illness will find solace and humor in "Coping Strategies."

The collection kind of falters a bit in the second act. "Surrey Girls" is "based on the photographs of Dr. Hugh Welch Diamond, a psychiatrist and pioneering photographer at England’s Surrey County Asylum in the mid-1800s, who believed photography had a role to play in mentally ill patients’ treatment." McCarney channels the POV of four patients who might have undergone this sort of therapy.

While it's certainly a fascinating idea, its execution feels incomplete. For example, each poem is preceded by the heading "1," suggesting more to come - and yet nothing ever does. McCarney just conveys the patients' thoughts leading up to the first photograph - but doesn't track the patients, or their treatment, long-term. I was a bit dumbfounded when this section ended without any sort of follow-up or denouement.

Part 3, "Alternative Timelines," seems to flow more seamlessly from Part 1. It's just what it sounds like: McCarney imagines different 'verses, some of them better ("The Best Version"), most of them even worse than our current shared dumpster fire (if you can believe it). This is an especially fantastical assortment; I could see these poems being adapted into an anthology series, maybe even an animated one. (Think: ADVENTURE TIME.)


Table of Contents

i. Coping Strategies
1 Let It Out
2 Take Supplements
3 Turn Your OCD Rituals into Spells
4 Do Your Fucking Breathing Exercises
6 Do The Sex
7 Take Your Meds
9 Act
10 Be the Change
11 Actually Talk During Your Scheduled Talk Therapy
12 Sleep It Off
13 Don’t Think about Death
14 Think about Death
16 Turn Your Pain into Art
17 Drink
18 Choose to Be Different than You Are
19 Take Comfort in Material Things
20 Revisit Your Childhood Trauma

22 ii. Surrey Girls
23 Lucinda
24 Mary Ann
28 Caroline
32 Bea

36 iii. Alternate Timelines
41 The Best Version
42 Conveniences
43 Republic 2
44 Tale of the Phoenix
46 The Cave
48 A Less Good Version
50 Negatives
51 Alt-Everything
53 Tale of the Grocer
54 A Labourer at Stonehenge
56 The Cleanse
58 Fast Food Breakfast
60 Victimology, Redux
61 The Great Reign
63 Gridlock
65 Happy
67 Tale of the Flood
68 Back, Back

69 Acknowledgements

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[ARC provided by ECW Press through NetGalley - Huge thanks to both for allowing me to experience this before publication!]

"Your Therapist Says It's Magical Thinking" is a collection of poetry crafted by Sadie McCarney - a fellow East Coaster - that dives in and out of topics surrounding mental illness and neurodivergence; shitty doctors and their inability to listen to women; dystopia; experiencing childhood through new lenses; existential dread; and so many other fantastical and weird elements.

There is something undeniably special to me about reading something written by another East Coaster. I just feel it more viscerally; there's something in the style and lyricism of the writing that places me back home, even if the writing itself isn't actually set there or describing anything about it. It's just the way we speak and think, I think.

There is also something really special and timely about this work in general. I found myself shock-still at times over the ideas being presented with such sweet vigor - other times I was simply bamboozled. I truly don't know how else to put it.

I am simply docking one star here because I, the reader, am a dumb-dumb and struggled at times to fully understand and process McCarney's incredibly smart poems. BUT I am making a vow with myself to come back to it once I am able to purchase a physical copy - the release date is set for April 18, 2023!!! - and dig deeper (with a dictionary and a Red Bull by my side).

P.S. CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS COVER??? Jessica Albert absolutely killed it!

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I loved this collection of poems by PEI writer Sadie McCarney. Moving from personal present and past, and imagined history and future, this collection of affecting poems and prose is both deeply realistic and completely fantastical. The heavy and serious thread throughout is the shape of a mentally ill, neurodivergent brain; it's also a beautiful brain, loving and observant, funny and sharp-tongued.

There are 4 poems in the middle called Surrey Girls that were inspired, according to the text, "by photographs of Dr. Hugh Welch Diamond, a psychiatrist and pioneering photographer at England’s Surrey County Asylum in the mid-1800s, who believed photography had a role to play in mentally ill patients’ treatment." These poems, about 4 different women, do an extraordinary job of tracing the history of mental health treatment, tensions around autonomy and treatment, the ways women have been marginalized and traumatized by misogynist treatments, and the lengths we still have to go to really know what's going on with and how to treat the brain.

This was my first @netgalley ARC and what a way to start! Thank you ECW Press for this read. If you're looking for a moving book of poetry, pre-order this for when it's released on April 18.

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What a wonderful and creative collection of poems. Having firsthand experience with OCD and ADHD I really felt like this was such a refreshing creative outlet for the author and the reader. The poems are basically the bad advice received from others. Likely therapist and neurotypical brains. It’s daunting to go into a therapist and feel safe when someone’s therapy is more harmful than helpful. Hence why we have to find the right treatments..

I absolutely love the structure of the book, it’s broken up into three parts. The first on advice form therapists and the sardonic nature and the backfire of such.
The second is historical fiction but what I would imagine would be closer to reality - women in an asylum getting photography treatment - they’re narratives-unreliable but likened to the treatment of mental health in asylums. Each short different and her words actually embodying the time period

The their part my favorite was Alternative Timelines. This was my favorite. It felt like taking a bit of acid or being in the twilight zone.

What a wonderful collection of poems. I can’t wait for more from the author

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This unique and creative collection of poetry and short stories explores mental health and neurodivergence in three sections. In the first section. I could feel the frustration and anger in how mental health is treated in society, As well as the cost, such as in the second poem, 'Take Supplements'. You can feel the frustration AT the cost of the supplements she takes to try to feel better.

In the second section, the focus is on how the mental health system behaved towards women in asylums in the 19th century from the view of two women, this section shows the ill-treatment they received. The third section, meanwhile, shows a more fantastical and dystopian view of the future and shows her anxiety about the future, such as climate change.

While the book was interesting in the way it talked about mental health, I enjoyed the first section the most with her poetry about growing up and everyday life while being neurodivergent and having a mental illness.

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🔆 your therapist says it’s magical thinking by Sadie McCarney 🔆

This short story and poetry collection was a stark and real look at mental illness split into three parts - coping strategies, Surrey girls and alternate timelines. My favourite was part 1. As someone who has ocd and has been in and out of mental health services I found the poems funny, tragic but very real. They were enjoyable to read and I love poetry like this! 4/5 would recommend.

⭐️ Lines I enjoyed! ⭐️

“My studies as a sports psychology grad student give me the authority to say: it’s your fault your anxiety isn’t getting any better, OK? … just suck it up and do your fucking breathing exercises and come back next week changed and whole.” - do your fucking breathing exercises

“So it’s all in your head. Great!” - act

“…all the juniper berries in the world will not make her relove you like a thrift store treasure.” - drink

Take Your Meds, Choose to be Different Than You are - favourite

Thanks NetGalley for the ARC!

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A unique, quirky set of poems highlighting what it's like to see the world differently, 'magically'. The first two sections explore mental illness, from the constant "try this, and you'll be cured" to the lives of 19th century women confined to an asylum. The third section, my person favorite and the most sci-fi of the collection, asks 'what if' the world was this way instead of how it really is? As someone who largely avoids poetry, I thoroughly enjoyed this collection. If I had one complaint, it would be that it was too short.

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I was lucky enough to get an ARC from NetGalley for this unique collection of poetry. Your Therapist Says It’s Magical Thinking is divided into three parts, Coping Strategies, Surrey Girls, and Alternate Timelines. I didn’t really feel like the sections flowed together as well as they could have, but I did like specific things about each section. Overall I believe this collection of poems does a great job at expressing the thought processes of someone with a mental illness in both past and present day.

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You can will yourself out of this well you’re trapped in. It’s documented: they decided not to be crazy.

The main theme of this book of poetry is mental health. As someone who lives with my own mental health driving me a bit loopy, I felt it was worth reading this collection of poems.

Although written in a style I would not normally choose to read, the poems depicted how difficult and isolating it can to live with invisible issues. I particularly liked how McCarney demonstrated that the professionals who are supposed to help you can sometimes make you feel worse and like you are being stigmatised.

The book is split into three sections and I particularly liked the middle section. It was ambiguous but also very creative in the way McCarney depicts the lives of the women in old photographs.

As always, I don’t want to give away too many details. I feel that readers may find the style of the poems a little confusing as they can read like short stories in some instances. However, this shouldn’t be focused on too much because this collection is creative with an important message. I really appreciate the author for bringing to light the unnoticed issues that come with mental illness through her own personal experiences.

I think this collection is worth a read.

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Your Therapist Says It's Magical Thinking is a collection of poems that explores mental health and neurodivergence. It’s divided into three sections.

The first part made me sad. As a mental health professional, it made my heart hurt to read this section and seeing what inadequate care the author was given while under the care of professionals. The entire first section made mental health care seem like a joke.

The second part: I really wish the pictures of each girl was included. I think that would have really made this section shine. I couldn’t separate the women, despite them being written in different voices.

The third part didn’t work for me. It was hard for me to engage in any of the poems and I found myself skimming

Overall, this is playfully written but I couldn’t personally get into a “playful” mindset because of my profession (I think) and the serious subject matter of mental health. I appreciated the author’s willingness to share her experiences and her struggles.

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I didn’t even finish this book of poems. I got about 15% in and DNF’d it. I thought I would relate to it because of my own mental illnesses, but I just couldn’t.

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This is such a quirky and unique poetry book. I haven't read anything like this before.
I really enjoyed the humour in the poems, but I did find some of the poems - particularly those at the beginning - to be quite repetitive.
I wish there was more rhyming within the prose, but overall an enjoyable and quirky little book!

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