The Mind

It’s Not What It Looks Like, Molly Burke

Molly Burke proves that you can do anything you set your mind to with just a little bit of determination. Importantly, she doesn’t downplay how difficult parts of her life have been, especially her fight with mental illness.

Rating: 3/5

In an audiobook memoir, motivational speaker, influencer and Youtuber Molly Burke tells something that’s not quite her story and not quite a motivational speech, but a bubbly, funny, and emotive mixture of the two. Going blind as a teenager, Molly has more reason than most to question the way we look at the world and yet day after day she gets up and educates people about everything she can – from her disability and how to act around guide dogs, to fashion and make up trends she loves. 

Hearing is Believing

It’s inevitable that if we don’t know somebody with a disability, we don’t know all that much about it; it’s rare that people fill their minds with information that doesn’t feel relevant to them. Molly’s autobiography challenges that ideology simply by being honest about her experience. From being diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa to being bullied at school to struggling with her mental health, Molly remains candid about how difficult certain aspects of her life have been and the ways that it would have been made easier if people only knew a little more about blindness.

Taking us on her journey from being night blind as a child, through her diagnosis and eventually on to her move from Toronto to LA, Molly proves that you can do anything you set your mind to with just a little bit of determination. Importantly, she doesn’t downplay how difficult parts of her life have been, especially her fight with mental illness. She opens up in unexpected ways but never fails to leave you with a smile as he sass returns to show that serious topics don’t always require a serious tone. 

Why I recommend: Changing your outlook

It’s Not What It Looks Like might not feel specifically relevant to graduates. You wouldn’t be wrong, I think everyone should be open to reading more about lives that don’t reflect theirs and learn more about disabilities. The reason I want graduates to read about Molly Burke is two fold: as an autobiography read by Molly herself, her passion for the topic is evident as well as her genuine desire to see change in the world, something which I hope will inspire new graduates to fight for the changes they want in the world; the second reason is to learn from Molly’s attitude.

The overall message from Molly – from both this audiobook and her Youtube channel – is optimism. In one chapter, she explains how she believes you can train yourself to be optimistic, even if you don’t feel like you are now. This is something I’m trying to bring into my own life; it’s easy to be negative, but sometimes just taking a moment to remember the good and to smile because of it can change your mood. It’s Not What It Looks Like is full of lessons like this, taught in ways which show the real life applications. Changing your outlook on life might not be easy, but it will have an immeasurable effect on your happiness and your mental health. 

Written by Megan Corbett, Another English Student

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