Poe for Your Problems by Catherine Baab-Muguira


When life’s got you down and things aren’t going your way, who better to turn to than Edgar Allan Poe? Discover how to say “nevermore” to your problems in this darkly comedic and refreshing self-help guide.

Of all the writers anywhere, Poe might be the least likely person you’d ever turn to for advice. His life was a complete dumpster fire: he married his cousin; got fired from one job after another; constantly feuded with friends and rivals; and he was always broke. But that’s also precisely the point. Though Poe failed again and again, he also persevered.

Drawing deeply on his works and life, Catherine Baab-Muguira takes the familiar image of Poe in a new and surprising direction in this darkly inspiring self-help book. Despite what you might think, Edgar Allan Poe is the perfect person to teach you to say “Nevermore, problems!” and show you how to use all the terrible situations, tough breaks, bad luck, and even your darkest emotions in novel and creative ways to make a name for yourself and carve out your own unique, notorious place in the world.

An inspirational tale for black sheep everywhere, Poe for Your Problems will teach you how to overcome life’s biggest challenges to succeed at work, love, and art—despite the odds and no matter your flaws.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Poe for Your Problems: Uncommon Advice from History’s Least Likely Self-Help Guru by Catherine Baab-Muguira

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was clever and fun to read. I think appeal can be toward those much familiar and those new to Poe. Demographic draw can be be wide but most of the vernacular would be much more geared toward a young generation, especially those afflicted by certain social dynamics and current economical downturn as experienced by many today. With its small size and accessible approach, would make a good gift for birthday or graduate.

The Story
I enjoyed reading the excepts and history, as well as context. It’s snappy. Speaks to the rebel. Creates a rebellion. Deepens that rebellion. Definitely doesn’t focus on lessons in temperance. That said, I don’t know if some of the lifestyle recommendations were as wild and reckless as the author made them out to be. Tries very hard to be counter culture which makes for an insightful, different aspect to melancholy, grief, loss, and terrible circumstance.

It includes poetry excerpts, explanation of references, and backstory so no reader, whether new or seasoned in Poe’s work is left out.

Sort of bring glorification to pathology, not always in the way of strictly health or morality, but more just to be, again counter culture or very hyperbolic, and make the point in accordance and congruent with the point of the book even though in practical terms and bargaining, would probably say so otherwise I think.

Making different points, sometimes excellent advice, other purely for entertainment and exercise of the mind, often imposing agenda’s on Poe’s work, explores the different side of it and putting those terms into practice and what that might mean for your life. It takes a bit of discernment to know which would be which in this book as it is all captured into one.

How Poe’s may have paralleled with your life.

The Writing
Overall tone was silly, melodramatic, not all things to be taken as is or so seriously, some in a more satyrical way, at times getting you to a point to embrace and adapt the unusual, perhaps peculiar parts about yourself and your life circumstances. Sometimes at the expense of radical mindset and lifestyle.

A bit chattery at points, where I felt myself skimming over the play on words, sometimes and take it or leave it to modern day vernacular as I felt was sometimes clutter and distracting.

Much is themed around not getting caught type of mentality and avoiding the best of your conscience.

The only more real serious faced and cautiously approached points raised as less counter culture, oppositional, or satyrical style within the book was when it came to racism. Which was depicted with an entirely different tone, a difference in branding and consistency for the book as per main points as previously outlined, especially when compared to other social justice and personal issues. It didn’t take that risk surprisingly, even for the more overall satyrical flavor to the book. I supposed this is where author draws the line for her writing personally, and provides more social commentary, a more self-reflective take on the real issue compared to most elsewhere in the book, which was a big turn in the book.

I liked the layout and organization of the book, as well as prefaces and conclusions.

The cartoon illustrations were cute and fun. A very nice touch.

I liked reading through the Addendum at the end

View all my reviews

<span class="uppercase">Hello, I'm Erica </span>
Hello, I’m Erica

Recipe developer, book reviewer, and artist. Expect delicious recipes both traditional and new, book reviews of all sorts of genres, a variety of creative expression, life musings, and much more!


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