Tabitha Carvan was a new mother, at home with two young children, when she fell for the actor Benedict Cumberbatch. You know the guy: strange name, alien face, made Sherlock so sexy that it became one of the most streamed shows in the world? The force of her fixation took everyone—especially Carvan herself—by surprise. But what she slowly realized was that her preoccupation was not about Benedict Cumberbatch at all, as dashing as he might be. It was about finally feeling passionate about something, anything, again at a point in her life when she had lost touch with her own identity and sense of self. Carvan explores what happens to women's desires after we leave adolescence, and why the space in our lives for pure, unadulterated joy is squeezed ever smaller as we age. She shines a light onto the hidden corners of fandom, from the passion of the online communities to the profound real-world connections forged between Cumberbatch devotees. But more importantly, she asks: what happens if we simply decide to follow our interests like we used to—unabashedly, audaciously, shamelessly?
Quoting Brené Brown, Mary Oliver, and Gail Sheehy and referencing her own lifelong, complicated relationship with fandom, Carvan’s loving but unapologetic manifesto is one to carry proudly on your next sojourn into the melee of backstage autograph seekers.
Clever and charming ... Carvan’s candid revelations about the ways in which passion, bias, identity and motherhood intersect are hard-won and insightful, not to mention humorous. As she shares them in This Is Not a Book About Benedict Cumberbatch, she makes an excellent case for taking time to figure out what you like and embracing the delight it brings—no shame allowed. Plus, a witty, well-researched appendix offers copious information for the Cumber-curious.
Spirited ... Carvan’s self-aware approach wrings the absurdity out of her story to hilarious effect while touching on the realities of motherhood and fandom ... The result is a weird-in-the-best-way account of self-discovery that brims with humor and insight.