Resources // Blog

“I Used to Have a Plan (but life had other ideas)” by Alessandra Olanow

--Staff Picks

I Used to Have a Plan (but life had other ideas)

Alessandra Olanow
Published: 2020
Age Range: 15+
Genre: Memoir, self-help, illustrated

Lying face down on the floor. Hiding behind a potted plant. Floating, detached, in space. If you have ever found yourself in one of these situations — literally or figuratively — you are not alone. Artist Alessandra Olanow depicts these feelings in minimal pen and ink illustrations interspersed with spare text.

I Used to Have a Plan (but life had other ideas) is a hybrid of memoir and positive affirmation. Divided into five parts, the book tells a story of a fall, deep depression, regret about time wasted while depressed, journey out of darkness, and a renewed commitment toward self-love.

Whatever catastrophic event led to this spiral is only vaguely alluded to, allowing the reader to imagine anything: the loss of a career, dissolution of a relationship, complete failure at school, etc. Olanow manages to be vague in a way that is universally relatable.

The book uses text sparingly, only a few words on every other page or so. That choice makes the book a quick read. But is is also one that you can revisit whenever you need a reminder to take time for yourself and breathe.

If you can manage, click here to request a copy.