“Bad Vibes Only” author examines our oppressively optimistic culture

More from this show

We have been conditioned to look for the silver lining in every situation life presents to us. But, best selling author, Nora McInerny, would like to differ. Her latest book, Bad Vibes Only, examines our oppressively optimistic culture, our obsession with self-improvement and encourages readers to embrace their flaws.

Based on her own personal struggles, Bad Vibes Only, dives into the idea that we don’t have to be happy all of the time and that that is completely okay.

What Personal Struggles Inspired You to Write Bad Vibes Only?

After losing both her husband and father to cancer in a six week time period, McInerny shared she had also experienced a miscarriage only eight days before her father’s passing.

At her husband’s funeral, McInerny recalls people asking about her well-being. “What do you say no matter what? Fine. I’m standing there at a funeral, yeah good,” said Mclerney in a sarcastic manner.

Was it Difficult to Share Your Life Publicly?

Talking about her life on the internet social media was no issue for the author. “It was easier than sending a mass email. It was easier than sending a group text,” said McIerney.

“I got many messages after my husband died- from people that were going through similar things who would say things like, I wish I was doing better. I wish I was doing more like you,” said McIerney. “But they didn’t know I wasn’t doing well. I was not doing well but I was presenting such a good facade.”

The Overall Lesson

“America is built on, among many things, optimism. We love an underdog, we love somebody who can pull themselves up from their bootstraps, we love a Cinderella story. And when your life falls apart as mine did several years ago, you start to see maybe these stories aren’t that simple and that maybe not every setback is a setup for a comeback. Sometimes things are just hard- and that’s the whole lesson,” said McInerny.

Illustration of columns of a capitol building with text reading: Arizona PBS AZ Votes 2024

Arizona PBS presents candidate debates

Three main characters from mystery shows premiering this summer
June 16

It’s the Summer of Mystery!

A photo of Olivia Ford and the cover of her book,
June 26

Join us for PBS Books Readers Club!

Charlotte Heywood from Sanditon
airs June 23

Sanditon on Masterpiece

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch
with azpbs.org!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: