A review of Trivial Grievances by Bridie Jabour

Bridie Jabour’s latest book ‘Trivial Grievances’ asks why millennials are miserable but as it turns out misery is not limited to millenials, and our 30-something author is pretty happy. However, when you shoot for the moon you can land among the stars. The book is a personal meditation on the contemporary and universal triggers of misery and how Jabour has navigated them to arrive at a place in life where she doesn’t sweat the small stuff and will appreciate moments of splendour in the ordinary. 

Jabour is doing well for herself. She’s got a good job that was her dream job, a doting partner and two healthy kids. And yet, she is still plagued by questions like ‘Am I running out of time? What is important? Who am I? Am I happy?’ and the realisation that choices, or lack of choices, set us down a path of no return. 

Jabour is content with where she’s arrived but discusses the reality we all face of being ‘locked in’ and ‘locked out’ of experience by the lottery of birth. These are not simply the warbles of early adulthood, many of us like the author did in 2020, ask these questions, no matter our age. 

‘Trivial Grievances’ is a romp of a read whether you’re laughing at or with Jabour. As a story-teller she is witty, self-mocking, at times embarrassingly honest, mercurial, and openly shares anecdotes that show the light and dark in her, for example giving money to a woman suffering domestic violence on the streets of Surry Hills, and on a night off from homelife getting too high and mumbling about her work supervisor to concerned mates. 

When Jabour looks up from navel gazing (research on the human condition and musing on perspective) she invites us to see potential in the lives we have and understand dissatisfaction as a signal to make a change. Annoying and painful things can be valuable turning points. The message is don’t be passive, look around to smile at the good and try to pivot from the bad. 

Our author is, as we all are, the sum of many often-conflicting parts that include neurotic, focussed, pleasure seeking and self-flagellating. And that’s the thing, while millennials are attributed with thinking themselves the centre of the universe Jabour is saying, our existence is not that unique or special, and yet we are surrounded by unique and special experiences that can enrich our lives, if only we are open to them. 

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