Publication Date: 02/03/2023 ISBN: 9781529420463 Category:

I’m Sorry You Feel That Way

Rebecca Wait

Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Publication Date: 02/03/2023 ISBN: 9781529420463 Category:
Paperback / Softback


Become the envy of all book lovers with your own Mr B’s sticker to show off where you do your shopping.



‘It’s a warm book and a touching one. And did I mention it’s funny? Just read it. You’ll see’ The Times
‘Funny, tender and sad’ Sunday Express
‘If you liked Meg Mason’s Sorrow and Bliss, you’ll love this novel’ Good Housekeeping
‘One of the richest explorations of family dysfunction I’ve read’ the i newspaper
‘Shades of Fleabag in this smart, funny drama’ Mail on Sunday
‘An enjoyably bittersweet novel about a dysfunctional modern family’ Independent
‘Razor-sharp ‘ Observer
‘One of the funniest novels you’ll read this year’ Guardian


For Alice and Hanna, saint and sinner, growing up is a trial. There is their mother, who takes a divide-and-conquer approach to child-rearing, and their father, who takes an absent one. There is also their older brother Michael, whose disapproval is a force to be reckoned with.

There is the catastrophe that is never spoken of, but which has shaped everything . . .

As adults, Alice and Hanna must deal with disappointments in work and in love as well as increasingly complicated family tensions, and lives that look dismayingly dissimilar to what they’d intended. They must look for a way to repair their own fractured relationship, and they must finally choose their own approach to their dominant mother: submit or burn the house down. And they must decide at last whether life is really anything more than (as Hanna would have it) a tragedy with a few hilarious moments.

From the author of the Waterstones Book of the Month Our Fathers comes a compelling domestic comedy about complex family dynamics, mental health and the intricacies of sibling relationships.

5* ‘I adored this book’
5* ‘A brilliant novel about a dysfunctional family’
5* ‘This book blew me away’
5* ‘Loved, loved, loved this! Laugh-out-loud funny and beautifully poignant’
5* ‘The best book i’ve read this year’

Publisher Review

SO brilliant. A brutally funny and whip-smart novel about dysfunctional families, with some of the best fictional sibling relationships I've ever read. It'll easily be one of my Books of the Year. -- Hannah Beckerman I didn't want it to end. Completely absorbing and brilliant and funny and painful. -- Charlotte Duckworth Toxic mothers, absent fathers, angry sisters and enraging brothers - this sharp, wise comedy explores difficult family dynamics, from all-too-relatable emotional patterns to the inexplicable agonies of mental illness; yet it's also one of the funniest novels you'll read this year. * Guardian (50 Hottest New Summer Reads) * Rebecca Wait's highly entertaining fourth novel is a masterclass in familial tensions, told with razor-sharp dialogue, wit and emotional insight. * Observer * You'll struggle to find a better opening sentence in fiction this year . . . I loved the deadpan one-liners . . . The dialogue is excellent and captures the way families try to support one another and end up being accidentally horrible instead . . . But even better than the witty observations are the pure comedy set pieces . . . But it's more than just a farce. Things happen, big dramatic things, and there's love and anguish and good people making terrible mistakes . . . It's a warm book and a touching one. And did I mention it's funny? Just read it. You'll see. * The Times * One of those novels, which is as funny as it's devastating, I'm Sorry You Feel That Way lays bare one family's dysfunction over the decades. * Red Magazine (The 10 best new books out this month) * Wait's deft handling of the intricate web of family connections, as well as her genuinely funny observations of everyday life, land somewhere between the early novels of Maggie O'Farrell and the later work of Barbara Trapido. Like them, she understands that tragedy and comedy go hand in hand * Guardian * Funny, tender and sad... Wait is such a sympathetic writer that her willingness to dive into the emotional nitty gritty of her characters' inner lives makes for riveting reading * Sunday Express * If you liked Meg Mason's Sorrow and Bliss, you'll love this novel ... as it hits that same sweet spot between poignancy and humour * Good Housekeeping * A deep dive into a dysfunctional family and its intergenerational trauma that somehow manages to be both desperately sad and extremely funny... Its exquisitely detailed examination of interpersonal relationships allows it to become furtively compassionate, generous even to the worst offenders and one of the richest explorations of family dysfunction I've read * i newspaper * An enjoyably bittersweet novel about a dysfunctional modern family * Indepedent * This sharp, wise comedy explores difficult family dynamics, from all-too-relatable emotional patterns to the inexplicable agonies of mental illness; yet it's also one of the funniest novels you'll read this year * Guardian Summer Reading * A rich and witty and sad book about family dysfunction. Twins Alice and Hanna are at the heart of it all, but we also glimpse into the life of their overbearing mother and her sister, and the whole thing is knitted together into a tragicomedy that I loved an inordinate amount * The Well Read newsletter * Wait is unflinching in her heartrending exploration of complex family dynamics, from the traumas that tear us apart to the brave decisions that hold us together. * Woman's Own * smart, witty and affecting... the comparisons to Sorrow and Bliss are justified * Stylist * The novel has earned comparisons to Meg Mason's Sorrow and Bliss - aka everyone's favourite book of 2020 - so bona fide hit status surely follows * ES Magazine * From the passive aggressive title to the satisfying ending, this is a smart, sometimes hilarious novel in which blood might prove thicker than water. * Saga * Perceptive, compelling and dryly funny, this unmissable story of a dysfunctional family . . . is a masterful novel, Wait's piercing wit and laser-sharp insight showing how easily family dynamics can spiral out of control. * Daily Express * A funny and moving book that will draw you into its tangled web * Psychologies * This novel made me laugh out loud and also broke my heart; it manages to weave together comedy, childhood trauma, mental illness and deft character observations into a wonderfully readable package. I hoovered it up and then went straight to read Rebecca Wait's previous novel, The Followers, which I also loved. * You * This is the funniest and one of the most underrated novels of the year... snarky and mischievous... it's gently serious and very touching * The Times (Best Fiction of 2022) * This family drama, about twin sisters whose dominant mother rules their lives, hits that sweet spot between poignancy and humour. All three characters are flawed and relatable in their own ways and the dynamic between them is so believable. * Good Housekeeping (Best Books of 2022) * A very funny, emotionally wise story of sibling rivalry and difficult mothers. * Guardian (Best Fiction Books of 2022) * Rebecca Wait's witty tragicomedy is a piercing tale of sibling rivalry and family dysfunction . . . Wait has a talent for bringing a crackle to a scene. * Culture Whisper (Favourite Books of 2022) * Perceptive, poignant and often very funny story of a dysfunctional family . . . a masterful novel that tackles troubled family dynamics with sparkling wit and searing insight. * Daily Express (Fiction Highlights for 2022) * Had I read Rebecca Wait's I'm Sorry You Feel That Way (riverrun) in time for our books of the year feature, I would have included it . . . Wait is a wonderful farceuse and a natural at comic observation, but does dark as well: I'm Sorry You Feel That Way is about the pain of feeling you haven't found your place in the world, about clinging to people who might ease that pain, and about the further pain that comes when they back off. It's about mental illness, and includes a frighteningly vivid account of a crack-up. It's also warm and generous: this family is trapped, but not without hope of release. * BookBrunch * This was one of the most underrated novels of last year. It's snarky and mischievous right from the opening sentence . . . It's the story of a dysfunctional middle-class family: stuffy Michael, the twins - anxious Alice and troublemaking Hanna - and their narcissistic mother, who can't stop meddling. By the end it's surprisingly serious and very touching. * The Times *

Book experts at your service

What are you looking for?

A recommendation
Something specific
  • Mr B's Recommendation Station
  • Fill in the three questions below, along with your name and email address, and our book experts will be in touch soon with their personal recommendations

  • I'm after something specific
  • Tell us about the book, author or subject you're looking for, along with your name and email address and our book experts will be in touch as soon as possible