Love is something that can consume every aspect of our lives – Small Fingernails: Even Less Love captures this essence. J. Peters takes us on a poignant journey through a tumultuous love affair he experienced during his college days. He explores the ideas of how our views of love and friendship can be skewed by unfortunate life events. It’s a story that we all know but are not brave enough to tell. Peters lays himself bare in this short but impactful memoir. In his own words, “love is a trauma that hurls itself into the very fabric of our lives.”
Everyone’s life story is different, and we cannot judge a personal experience. But let me start by saying J. Peters is a fantastic writer!
J Peters lays it all out on the table for you. He does not sugarcoat his actions nor the people who surround him. He is honest about his faults, and where he went wrong in certain situations, there is no pretending. These are aspects that many modern memoirs are missing. Many authors rather portray themselves as perfect human beings than to be authentic with their readers.
It’s easy for authors to get long-winded and jumbled when recounting a life event. They want you to experience it how they experienced it, which means you run through their entire thought processes. Peters perfectly executed the nuance of giving the reader all the imperative details without dragging on a chapter. Most chapters were five pages or less. He knows how to get to point a to point b in a story without trailing off on a tangent in between – this is quite a rare skill for indie authors.
J. Peters is a writer that has mastered his craft. I appreciate the meticulous attention to the ideas he was portraying through his own experiences. If you are looking for a story about how life and mental health can impact love and friendship, this book is for you. It’s a quick but powerful read- there’s never a dull moment.
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Wales High School shares your journey in high school and the events that led you to a psychiatric ward. What inspired you to write this autobiography?
I have spent so much time processing the challenging experience I had in college from my book University on Watch: Crisis in the Academy. I overlooked the importance of going back and revisiting what happened in High School. As a therapist, I appreciate how trauma works. Going back and getting a better understanding of the trauma I experienced before helped situate why the events, later on, manifested the way they did and gave me a better idea of the behavior patterns I kept repeating, which were so destructive. Also, I wanted to write a book that all people experiencing mental health struggles could relate. Not everyone goes to college and would appreciate University on Watch. Everyone goes to High School and struggles at some point.
What is a common misconception you feel people have about mental health?
I think a common misconception about Mental Health is how it looks or appears/presents to others observing someone who is sick. Mental Health/illness looks very different depending on the diagnosis and how the person handles him or herself while sick. I have seen people of all dispositions and demeanors with various illnesses as a therapist.
I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?
The hardest part was truly capturing my desperation. I was a desperate teenager and in a desperate situation. It wasn’t easy to both find the correct language and read what I have written without cringing.
What is the next book that you are working on, and when will it be available?
I have two other books available right now. One is a more petite ebook, Wales Middle School: the rise of J. Peters and Small Fingernails: Even Less love, both autobiographical.
Posted in Interviews
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The Wales High School: First Diagnosis, by J. Peters, is a memoir talking about the first diagnosis of his mental disease. Who could’ve guessed that the blue-haired, chain-smoking teen Jacques was once an academically bright kid straying far away from any social interaction, let alone drugs. The account starts with freshman year at Wales High School, where Jacques is any other academically bright but socially challenged teenager, trying to fit in with the cool kids. It follows his development through high school, and how he ultimately wins the recognition award for “Most Changed”.
The language of the book is crisp and engaging. It hooks the readers right from the first chapter. The book does a fantastic job of describing how mental illness is seemingly invisible to the patient, and how in their mind, their actions are perfectly rational. The book talks about life before the mental health issues arose and shows readers the events that led up to them and then explains what was going through the patient’s mind during treatment.
This is a true to the soul account of a mental health survivor, the book is free from all the glamorization and undertones of extreme morbidity that often are found in books on similar topics. Rather than catch the readers’ eye, the author simply states his story, a true account. This honesty hooks the reader and made me want to know more and dive deeper.
While this is a thought-provoking and authentic story, I felt that the book did not provide a deeper insight into the feelings of Jacques. Even though it does a brilliant job of talking about the thoughts and explaining what a mental health patient thinks, I wanted it to be more emotive. I felt that a deeper dive into the emotions and subconscious of Jacques would have added a greater depth to the entire account.
I really enjoyed Wales High School: First Diagnosis for its extreme candor and simple yet engaging language. With a relatable plot, and short and crisp chapters, the book is hard to put down. It resonates with teenagers going through a similar phase in life and to friends and family who struggle to understand their child, help them, and be there for them. This is by far the truest account that I have come across about mental health issues.
Pages: 110 | ASIN: B086381MYV
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Sometimes, love finds us; other times, love is a trauma that hurls itself into the very fabric of our lives. My experiences at New England University explain how traumatic events and life’s unfortunate turns can become amplified and overshadow our understanding of how love and friendship should contribute to our lives.
The sages say love can blind us; however, sometimes, that love transforms our lives into radically altered states–states in which we must learn how to cope for the relationship to survive and thrive. These altered states are often difficult to manage without help from friends and family. If left to our own devices, without these critical supports, the very creative energy that once nurtured our passion has the potential to destroy the very foundation of our love and caring that was once manifest.
Small Fingernails chronicles my life as a student at college in Freedomtown and in love. It evaluates the impact of toxic relationships on our well-being and our capacity to pursue friendship. Through transgressions, fear, loss, grief, and misfortune, even my profound love could endure. Ultimately, my ethics and belief in what is right collapsed on its head.
Love needs to be free and rid of all elements that can destroy its beauty. This book signals the need to reevaluate our closest and most personal spaces, friends, and family members. The complications that interfere with our pursuit of happiness will one day be more easily overcome by people who follow their hearts and seek only the best for those they care about the most.
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University on Watch is your true story detailing the obstacles you faced in academia and how you were forced to overcome your disabilities while facing bias and ignorance from people at the university. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I fell in love when I was in college in New London with language. If I was ever going to put process the trauma and move towards healing I needed to recapture the events in the book through the very words that were so precious to me years ago.
What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this book?
The impact of a major mental health disorder on a person’s life. Specifically, for young people alone and isolated from supports, and other vulnerable people. They needed to know what it takes to survive, and the various threatening intersections there are in the health and healing.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
Always keep in mind your behavior and the goals that you are setting out to accomplish. The behavior has a direct impact on us and the outcomes in life. Sometimes, without doing everything we can do to keep moving is all we have to hold on to in our darkest hours.
You are a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Has your time helped others informed the development of your book?
Without the clinical language, I wouldn’t’ be convinced I had what it took to write the book. Prior to healing and becoming a social worker, I had only one lens through to see the world. Back then, I also felt a certain way about my grip on the world (shame, guilt, all of it). The point is without a whole new way of understanding the world, what else was I offering but a closed-off and a non-illuminating text.
Posted in Interviews
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University on Watch: Crisis in the Academy by J Peters is a unique reading experience. It is the author’s true story of what he endured going through the world of academia and how he was forced to overcome his disabilities AND the biases and ignorance of those at the university to achieve his education goals.
It is a stunning examination of those dark things that should not be tolerated or accepted on any level, but ones we all know occur when backs are turned or no one is looking. More than that, it is the story of hope. Of how we can achieve our dreams no matter the obstacles thrown in our way. Despite the almost horrific exposure of academia’s underbelly people choose to ignore, this tell all confession is a message of inspiration for those with disabilities and mental health issues. Author J Peters wrote University On Watch after enduring a major crisis at New London University. It took ten long years for him to come to terms with what happened there. No, I won’t spoil that for you with this review. During that time he took a closer look at who he was and who he wanted to be. J Peters has since gone on to become a rhetoric scholar and, in his own words, a person living with schizophrenia.
This book is written in a straightforward manner, both open and easy to follow. J Peters pulls no punches in his recounting of his time at the university. His book is a journey of self-discovery that will engage your emotions on a deep level. If you don’t walk away questioning the how and why of this scenario you may need to go back and reread it. University on Watch is unlike anything you will read. Do yourself a favor- walk a mile in J. Peters’ shoes.
Pages: 150 | ASIN: B07NP2891M
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It’s the year 2003. Teenagers are messaging each other online, listening to punk music on MP3 players, and writing blogs on LiveJournal to fit in. One such teen is walking the halls of Wales High School with bright shirts, leather jackets, and blue hair: Jacques Peters. He’s determined to become best friends with one of the coolest guys in school, Davis Mavis. But he soon discovers that smoking, skipping class, and putting up a front aren’t as cool as they seem, particularly when mental health is involved. His friends gossip behind his back, push him out of their clique, and turn a blind eye to the cuts on his wrists. He’s dragged into a life that leads to a long stay in a psychiatric ward he hates, full of therapy, pills, and a strict routine.
That troubled teen is me.
When I was discharged, I was in a daze. Numbed by medication and left with few friends, I spent my days listening to music and giving my teachers lip. Eventually, on a cold winter night home alone, I posted a single word on my blog: “goodbye.” I took a cocktail of pills and hoped to slip into an endless sleep.
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