The Elegant Art Of Falling Apart

By Jessica Jones

Sometimes we have to lose everything to understand this moment is all we have

Biography | Women
105% funded
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Publication date: July 2013

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More life affirming (and funny) than any self-help book. GRAZIA

What it’s about

Who ever plans for their life to fall apart? Who expects to get ill or get dumped?

The Elegant Art of Falling Apart tells the story of how it happened to me! I’d done the hard yards: booze; drugs; bad boyfriends. But that was all in the past. Now, my life was almost perfect: living and working in London, a city I adore, in love with a man who loved me back. Then in May 2009, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. With the help of doctors, nurses, friends and family, I stumbled through the horror of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

I felt so lucky to have survived it all. On Christmas Eve I flew to Sydney to be with Nick, the man who had stuck by my side through all the pain and the fear, only to be told on arrival that he’d been seeing someone else… that he didn’t love me after all. That emotional rejection felt more devastating, and difficult to recover from, than the cancer.

So what is this book really about? It’s about learning to ask for and to accept help. It’s about living in and enjoying the moment. It’s about freeing yourself from our culture’s obsession with romantic love. It’s about how looking good makes you feel good. Above all it is about staggering through the darkness with laughter and with friends.

Whilst the book is full of (I hope) useful tips about how to survive serious illness with style, it doesn’t offer medical advice or quacky recovery programmes aimed at saving your life. This book is about saving your sanity.

And you don’t need to get cancer to find yourself on the wrong side of that line…

Why I need your help

The Elegant Art of Falling Apart has already been published in my native Australia, but I am also a happy habitué of London. So now I need your help to bring my book to British shores.

Unbound's new model of publishing allows me to be directly in communication with my readers. To be honest I find that inspiring – if also a little daunting. But this book is all about sharing experiences and learning from one another. So I will be posting up regular updates, excerpts and tips on everything from mascara to meditation. Please pledge and join the conversation.

You can follow me on Twitter: @itsjessyjones

And visit my Facebook page


Quick select rewards

68 pledges


  • An e-Book to keep in your pocket (choose your format).
Buy now
$30  + shipping
96 pledges


1st edition hardback and the ebook edition.
  • Jessica Jones avatar

    Jessica Jones

    I grew up in Australia and New Guinea. After being 'asked to leave' High School I ran away to London to drown myself in music and fashion. Life then became a non-stop rollercoaster of what self-help writers often call 'opportunities for growth' until, a decade or so ago, it became imperative to ease up on the insanity (although not entirely, as you shall see). Following my diagnosis with breast cancer, I started the blog CHEMO CHIC – A Guide to Surviving Breast Cancer With Style. CHEMO CHIC was acclaimed by The Times as one of '40 Blogs That Really Count' and was recently chosen by Channel 4’s 4Beauty as one of the best health blogs. These days I live in Notting Hill, London, where I am an upstanding member of the community. Honest – ask anyone!

  • How does one judge one’s life: success or failure?
    I remember an old story …
    Bad news: a man was trapped in a burning building. Good news: he jumped out the window. Bad news: the window was on the fourth floor. Good news: there was a haystack beneath him. Bad news: there was a pitchfork in the haystack. Good news: he missed the pitchfork. Bad news: he missed the haystack …
    I never could get the point of that story when I was at school. Now I totally get it. Our perspective on life just depends on where we start and end the story. Pick a day. Pick a moment.

  • Jessica Jones has written 16 private updates. You can pledge to get access to them all.

    6th August 2012 Press
    4th August 2012 How to Get a Wig [book extract]

    Lately I’ve been staying in too much. Not just in my flat but in my bathroom. I sit on the edge of the bath amidst a phalanx of mirrors. I inspect my head from every angle. I ponder my forehead. Is it possible to arrange the few short hairs into a Joan-of-Arc style fringe? I examine the back. Is my crown one giant bald spot or is it just the angle of the light? Would it be less apparent if my hair…

    21st July 2012 Things I Wish I’d Known Before #5 - How to Evaluate Complementary Therapies


    When serious illness strikes, we search for cures. It’s a perfectly sane reaction to a life-threatening situation. In fact, it may feel almost irresponsible not to do so. Unfortunately there are some people ready and willing to exploit our fear and desperation, whether it be for profit or personal aggrandisement. Others have more philanthropic motives but may be strongly influenced by their own…

    17th June 2012 Chemo Or Not Chemo? [book extract]


    The first step on the road into the unknown is a meeting with the woman who is to be my pilot from here on in, oncologist Dr Rosie Cox. ‘Please call me Rosie,’ she says shaking my hand and then waving me to a chair. I sit down. Honoria, the breast care nurse, sits down next to me. The breast care nurse is the patient’s advocate, so she always sits on the patient side of the desk. Honoria gives…

    11th June 2012 Glamorous Goodies - Fabulous Deal

    I'm thrilled to reveal the contents of our Good Glamour non-toxic beauty bag. This essential collection is an ideal way to discover the most gorgeous natural cosmetics on the market today - all tried, tested and approved by me.


    1. Green People Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF 15 with Tan Accelerator. This mineral based lotion provides broad spectrum (UVA & UVB) sun protection with no toxic chemical sun…

    31st May 2012 Unbound - Your Questions Answered


    Q: The Elegant Art of Falling Apart has been published in Australia by Hachette. Why are you now publishing it in the UK with Unbound?

    A: During the last couple of years, whilst I wrote the book and watched it go to press, I also watched the publishing industry begin to disintegrate. Bookshops and traditional publishers were collapsing left, right and centre. The music industry went through a…

    23rd April 2012 Press
    19th April 2012 Press
    19th April 2012 Press
    19th April 2012 Press
    19th April 2012 Press
    18th April 2012 The Elegant Art Of Stuffing Your Face

    Here's a taste of what's on offer if you pledge for the Tea with Me level.

    We will be meeting at my favourite tea shop, Lowry & Baker, on Portobello Road.

    Lowry & Baker is run by Katy and Maya (I'm not sure which one is Lowry and which one is Baker) who, beneath their hipster facades, are a pair of genuine born-again grannies. Using seasonal ingredients they cook nearly everything from scratch:…

    13th April 2012 The Falling Apart Flash Fiction Prize

    It's your turn to shine.

    The theme is: Falling Apart.

    The word count is 250 maximum. Prose or poetry okay!


    The prizes:

    1. A beautiful signed flower portrait by Jessica Jones.

    2. A signed first-edition hardback of The Elegant Art of Falling Apart

    3. £20 of Unbound credits

    All shortlisted entries will be published on the Unbound blog.

    Closing date is midnight on Thursday 31st of May


    11th April 2012 Things I Wish I’d Known Before # 1 - How to Break Bad News

    I found that telling my friends and family, especially my mother, that I had cancer was way harder than receiving the news myself. I was so concerned about upsetting them — or crying — that I often ended up putting a jokey spin on things or being utterly deadpan.

    There is no easy way to do this.

    How not to break bad news: ‘Guess what?’ ‘Ummm, you’ve won the lottery?’ ‘No! Guess again ...’


    10th April 2012 Pick Your Flowers

    Taking photographs encourages me to switch off my thinking, writing head and simply see the world. It's almost meditational.

    These portraits of flowers are part of a series of photographs titled 'The Spaces In Between'.

    The prints measure roughly 13 x 19 inches. Each one is an archival, giclée print on Somerset Velvet paper. The paper is heavy and imparts a beautifully dusty finish to the images…

    10th April 2012 Good Glamour

    After being diagnosed with breast cancer almost three years ago I began to hear disquieting murmurs about links between breast tumours and many substances that are found in everyday beauty products.

    At first I did not want to know. What with the horrible surgery, losing my hair and feeling sick all the time I felt disinclined to start worrying about whether or not my moisturiser might be killing…

    15th March 2012 WHAT HAPPENED NEXT... [book extract]


    I had an appointment at St Mary’s this morning for an ultrasound scan. Nothing unusual about that. I’m not normally one to miss out on the chance of a morning hanging around in a hospital waiting room reading half a copy of OK! from September 2007 and stickybeaking at all the other patients, trying to figure out what their particular ghastly disease or disability might be. I’m always…

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