Most of us try to avoid feeling sad, but in this candid, comical, and deeply-felt book, therapist Chelsea Harvey Garner doesn’t just argue that the future will be brighter if we learn to enjoy the unenjoyable and support each other when the vibes aren’t so good, she also shows us how.

What if all the advice we’ve received about “looking on the bright side” is wrong? What if sadness is actually the key to happiness, and can even be . . . fun? Garner is here to make that case. In this feel-good guide to feeling bad, she claims it’s not enough for us to tolerate hard feelings. We need to embrace them. We need to let them show by crying with others. Often. In public.

Playful, at times irreverent, but always sincere, Garner is the grown-up Miss Frizzle for the therapy generation. She believes that if we want to build a world where mental health is the norm, we have to lean into connection and count on each other, even—and perhaps especially—at our worst.

Through anecdotes about her own hardships and insights gained in her clinical practice, Garner illuminates the power (and embarrassment) of opening up. Featuring solo exercises, group activities, and journal prompts alongside personal essays, she invites us to see emotions in a new light and engage with them in a healthier way. A Pity Party is Still a Party helps us find the silver lining, but only after we’ve played in the rain.

About the author(s)

Chelsea Harvey Garner is a writer, psychotherapist, and director of Big Feels Lab, a nonprofit that promotes collective mental health. In her clinical practice, she specializes in helping misfits, survivors, and unconventional families reclaim a sense of dignity and connect with one another more deeply. When not working, she can be found starting dance parties in public and hosting cuddle puddles at her home in NYC.


Laced with wry humor, Garner’s approach to emotional health is permissive without being overly self-indulgent—readers can feel their feelings without getting consumed by them, she makes clear. This is one for the feelers who need a hand. — Publishers Weekly

“As evinced by the title and the attendant activities, this is not the typical bromide-laden self-help book advising readers to turn their frowns upside down.”  — Library Journal

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