Totally Fine (And Other Lies I’ve Told Myself): What my Decade in Grief Taught me About Life

Author: Philippou, Tiffany

Publication Date:

March 2022



Original language and publisher

English | Thread/Bookouture/Hachette UK

Territories Handled

Germany, Netherlands, Scandinavia



Totally Fine (And Other Lies I’ve Told Myself): What my Decade in Grief Taught me About Life

Author: Philippou, Tiffany


An unflinchingly honest account of what it was like to lose her boyfriend Richard to suicide in 2008, when she was at university, and the decade of self-silencing that followed. Candid and highly readable, her book carves out an important space to talk about loss and mental health, and particularly how it affects loved ones. But it’s also a massively relatable story of dizzy, messy twenty-something life: the pressure to succeed and find a path while never missing a party, no matter what you’re shouldering in the background.  —  Evening Standard, ‘The Faces to Watch in 2022’

Totally Fine is proof of the fact that many of us read to know we are not alone, and that many of us also write to know we are not alone. Tiffany has taken brutal experience and fashioned something beautiful and restorative from it. I wish I’d had this book to guide me into adulthood. — Sathnam Sanghera

Explores the aftermath of grief, shame and why not dealing with these emotions is not an option. — Stylist Magazine, ‘Must-read non-fiction books for 2022’

If Dolly Alderton, Glennon Doyle and Elizabeth Day had a love child, this is the writer they’d produce. — Laura Jane Williams, author and journalist

Will go a long way to helping those struggling with the stigma and shame that, sadly, persistently surrounds mental health. — Vicky Spratt, Refinery29

Tiffany’s writing is filled with raw honesty and is incredibly relatable. She’s captured so eloquently what it feels like to go into the adult world without a guidebook. Tiffany isn’t afraid to speak about really important themes such a shame and the messy process of grieving that we don’t often talk about. Her story offers readers a perspective that could provide so much comfort and shared experience. — Claire Bord, Tiffany’s publisher at Thread, Bookouture

Shame is a monster that grows inside us. We all have the monster, it’s what we decide to do with it that determines how we live our lives. This is my story…

One day in the summer of 2008, I was sat on a train travelling back to London from a weekend of partying with friends when I received a phone call that suddenly changed everything. I was told my boyfriend Richard was in hospital. He died seven days later. I spent most of my twenties pretending this never happened.

It has taken me a decade to be able to tell this story, just as it has taken me years to understand that there is no right way to grieve and no right way to live.

In our twenties, we are thrown into the adult world without a guidebook. It’s a decade that should be about adventure and discovery, so why does it feel catastrophic when we fail? How are we expected to have mastered our lives in such a short amount of time?

Saying my shame out loud has made me feel more connected to people in my life. I hope that my story will make you feel less alone, too. It is only by sharing our stories that we can give a voice to the unspoken. Whatever pain you’re holding on to, I’m writing this for you.