It’s part of human nature to test our limits. But what happens when this part comes to define us?
When Jenny Valentish wrote a memoir about addiction, she noticed that people who treated drug-taking like an Olympic sport would often hurl themselves into a pursuit such as marathon running upon getting sober. What stayed constant was the need to push their boundaries.
Everything Harder Than Everyone Else follows people doing the things that most couldn’t, wouldn’t or shouldn’t. Their insights lead Jenny on a compulsive, sometimes reckless journey through psychology, endurance and the power of obsession, revealing what we can learn about the human condition.
There’s the neuroscientist violating his brain to override his disgust response. The athlete using childhood adversity as grist for the mill. The wrestler turning restlessness into curated ultraviolence. The designer who hangs from hooks in her flesh to get out of her head. The performance artist seeking erasure by manipulating his body. The BDSM dominant helping people flirt with death to feel more alive. The bare-knuckle boxer whose gnarliest opponent was once her ego. And the porn-star-turned-fighter for whom sex and violence are two sides of the same coin.
Darkly funny and vividly penetrating, Everything Harder Than Everyone Else explores our deeper selves and asks: what are your limits?
‘Valentish takes us into hidden worlds that fascinate, horrify, inspire and entertain. Valentish is your intrepid guide to fringe communities, where the members are hardcore and their wisdom is hard-won. The characters and stories will stay with you long after the last page.’ —Brigid Delaney
‘As a fan of wrestling and general out-there foolishness, I've often wondered — but couldn't put into words — what drives people to such limits. An outstanding read.’ —Broden Kelly, Aunty Donna