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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

One Book One Campus: If You Feel Too Much

Resources for students hoping to explore issues central to the 2016-2017 One Book One Campus selection "If You Feel Too Much: Thoughts on Things Found and Lost and Hoped" in greater depth.


This guide serves as an informational resource for Illinois students and staff hoping to learn more about the 2016-2017 One Book One Campus selection, If You Feel Too Much: Thoughts on Things Found and Lost and Hoped For by Jamie Tworkowski. Here you'll find more information on:

  • Potential research topics involving suicide, depression, and self-help 
  • Recommended resources for searching these topics
  • Discussion questions and ideas for the classroom or small group
  • Information about Jamie Tworkowski and his visit to campus

The infographic above was adapted from the Undergraduate Library's infographic template.
All information on the infographic is also accessible on this LibGuide in screen-readable text.

Discussion Questions

The following discussion questions on If You Feel Too Much may be helpful in a small group or classroom setting. Use them to spark discussion on the book and add questions you may have from the stories:

  1. Jamie often discusses the power of friendship in If You Feel Too Much. What role does friendship take in the relationships between Jamie and others, and how does this affect his own life perspective?
  2. Much of If You Feel Too Much focuses on the idea of our lives as stories. In his disclaimer on page 162-163, Jamie writes “There are moments we feel stuck in, things we wish we could forget, pages and paragraphs—even entire chapters—we wish we could remove…within the same story of your life, there are things you love.” How do the 44 stories in If You Feel Too Much knit together life’s victories and tragedies into a cohesive narrative? Are there any components that don’t fit into the overall narrative?
  3. On pages 160-161, the second-to-last story “There Is Still Some Time” focuses on the theme if you feel too much. Why do you think this story was placed so late into the text, and why does it fit or not fit as the book’s title?
  4.  “i want to shift the focus, to redirect the lights. i want to focus on your story” (p.162). How does If You Feel Too Much tell the personal collection of Jamie’s story while also focusing on the stories of his readers?
  5. Why do you think Jamie uses the lowercase “i” rather than the uppercase “I” throughout the book? What does his choice say about him as the author and storyteller?
  6. A common thread throughout If You Feel Too Much is community—“you will need other people…a living breathing screaming invitation to believe better things” (p. 42) How does Jamie explain community, and how does relying on other people help heal individuals? 

The Story Behind The Story: TWLOHA

Noted as the story behind the story, If You Feel Too Much explores hope, help, light, and strength through darkness and pain. Written as a collection of 44 stories that weave together, If You Feel Too Much is a New York Times Bestseller that bloomed out of author Jamie Tworkowski's story and organization "To Write Love On Her Arms" (TWLOHA). TWLOHA began as a response to a friend in need, to help a loved one through addiction, depression, self-injury, and suicidal thoughts. What came forward was a movement to understand and learn more about life's contrasts: "pain and peace, addiction and sobriety, regret and freedom".

To learn more about TWLOHA, visit: