Review: Never Say You Can’t Survive: How to Get Through Hard Times by Making Up Stories

Title: Never Say You Can’t Survive: How to Get Through Hard Times by Making Up Stories
Author: Charlie Jane Anders
Genre: Nonfiction
Publisher: Tor
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 17, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

From Charlie Jane Anders, the award-winning author of novels such as All the Birds in the Sky and The City in the Middle of the Night, this is one of the most practical guides to storytelling that you will ever read.

The world is on fire.
So tell your story.

Things are scary right now. We’re all being swept along by a tidal wave of history, and it’s easy to feel helpless. But we’re not helpless: we have minds, and imaginations, and the ability to visualize other worlds and valiant struggles. And writing can be an act of resistance that reminds us that other futures and other ways of living are possible.

Full of memoir, personal anecdote, and insight about how to flourish during the present emergency, Never Say You Can’t Survive is the perfect manual for creativity in unprecedented times.


This book is about using your personal struggles to write. It referenced the pandemic, and the way it has changed the way we write. Some people were more creative and inspired last year, while others couldn’t write at all. Writing can be a therapeutic way to express your feelings, or it can be an act of resistance.

I appreciated how current the writing tips were in this book. There were many references to the way our lifestyles have changed in the past year. Even if they weren’t personally impacted by Covid, everyone had to alter some part of their lifestyle. Though I’m not ready to read a fictional book set during the pandemic, this writing book was so informative for writing in 2021.

There were references to a variety of types and styles of stories. There were plenty of science fiction examples, such as Doctor Who and Star Trek, but there were other types of stories as well, like The Baby-Sitter’s Club. A wide range of authors were also mentioned, from Neil Gaiman to Alyssa Cole. I loved seeing all of these familiar works referenced in this writing book.

There were so many great writing tips in this book. I highlighted many passages in my digital copy, which I’ve never done before. I will have to get a physical copy to reference while I write, because I know I will be returning to this book again and again during my writing career.

Never Say You Can’t Survive is a fabulous writing book!

Thank you Tor for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody

Have you read Never Say You Can’t Survive? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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