Review: On Edge

Along the Way @ (2)

Gentle Reader,

On December 5, 1989, Andrea Petersen suffered a crippling panic attack. Over the next year, she would be in and out of doctor’s offices, attempting to figure out what was wrong. Finally, sitting in the campus health office of her college, she hears the words that will mark her life forever: anxiety disorder.

Of all the books in the world, I figured that I would relate to and appreciate this one.

Weirdly, I didn’t.

Petersen is a medical reporter for the Wall Street Journal, and this shows in her writing. Instead of straightforward memoir, she fills the chapters with an overload of background information about synapses and chemicals and medications, leading to a denseness that was difficult to get through. Having read many books on this topic, I know that there is such a thing as too much information, especially if one is reading these books in an attempt to understand and therefore battle anxiety in a more effective way.

That, perhaps, seems odd. How can there be too much information? In answer, one word: Overload. Knowledge may be power, but overload is crippling.

Petersen should have written two books: one memoir, one technical. Trying to have both forms in one volume results in a disjointed read.


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review.

4 thoughts on “Review: On Edge

  1. I completely agree with you. I recently read this book and mostly I loved it, but I wish there hadn’t been so much technical stuff and just INFORMATION, I wanted to read a compelling memoir about anxiety and I got that (and frankly got some understanding of myself as a result), but there were chunks of the book I skimmed I was so bogged down with information.


    1. I am so behind in responding here….

      It’s almost as if this should have been two books, don’t you think? One, a memoir; the other, technical. Mashing them together was just too much.


  2. While I’m at the other end of the spectrum (“Is he THAT laid-back, or is he dead?”) I’m sorry that such a good opportunity for a helpful book was missed.

    I know people with anxiety disorder,and I have some appreciation for how much it hurts.


    1. What’s funny about my struggle is that many people assume I’m laid back, because my emotions usually don’t show on my face. Sometimes I have a hard time convincing those around me that I’m really not so chill and that I need their understanding.



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