Novelist and essayist Waldman (Bad Mother)—mother of four, married to another high-profile writer (Michael Chabon)—worked as a federal public defender and taught at prestigious law schools. After struggling with mood swings and bouts of depression, Waldman becomes a “self-study psychedelic researcher,” taking small doses of LSD on repeating three-day cycles and discovers plenty to exonerate the illicit substance. It’s a major departure for the author of novels and a mystery series, and though the book’s subtitle broadcasts the happy ending, the hows and whys of her journey are the great payoffs. Waldman structures the book as a diary of her microdosing protocol, but each entry is a launchpad for topics on which she speaks frankly and knowledgeably. Her journal tackles drug policy, her days as an attorney, parenting, writing, and marriage maintenance. It’s a highly engaging combination of research and self-discovery, laced with some endearingly honest comic moments. She is exactly the sort of sensible, middle-aged, switched-on, spontaneous woman whom any reader would enjoy taking a trip with. Waldman, by her own account, is firmly in control when it comes to controlled substances: she doesn’t want to feel out of it; she just wants to get on with it. (Jan.)


“She weaves together memoir and advocacy, jumping rapidly between starry-eyed passages about romantic love and dense, journalistic writing. It’s part Eat Pray Love, part The New Jim Crow.”

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"A hilarious, intriguing, and thoroughly persuasive account of how a middle-aged mother of four, a writer and lawyer terrified of drugs, found life-changing serenity by microdosing with LSD. It seems that LSD can not only make walls breathe and worlds become one, but turn grouchy, yelling people into a happy, reasonable ones. Ayelet Waldman’s terrific book holds out hope to the mood-afflicted everywhere that there is a solution to their misery without the side-effects of anti-depressants—a solution that doesn’t produce mystical revelations but just a really good day. LSD is illegal, but fortunately this book isn’t, and it has much the same effect."

-Larissa MacFarquhar


"Ignoring decades of drug war propaganda, Ayelet Waldman bravely chose to take back her psyche using forbidden medicine. The result is this candid and fearless mental travelogue. Funny, wise, surprising, and all too human, this book about peering through the veil of self may just - if you dare to let it - drive you sane."

-Walter Kirn

"It’s a simple, delightful premise: a journal of microdosing.  Then Waldman brings so much to the project that it turns into something else, something far more beguiling.  Her marriage, her family, her formidable neuroses, her years as a lawyer and a law professor, her skills as a journalist, her stand-up comic’s timing, her harrowing gift for self-knowledge—all of these become the main strengths and true subjects of her study.  The result is constantly entertaining, slyly educational, and surprisingly moving.  You end up wishing desperately for her radical honesty to be rewarded with a greater ration of contentment.  I don’t know another writer like her.

-William Finnegan

“Smart, outspoken, provoking, and funny. She brings her storytelling chops, penchant for intimate disclosures, and fluency in the abject failures of the unwinnable War on Drugs to this involving chronicle of her attempt to combat her chronic and incapacitating mood disorder, after trying every other conceivable treatment, by taking microdoses of LSD... Poignant, sometimes hilarious... Her intensely personal revelations are balanced by a clarion history in the psychedelic… Buoyed by the benefits of microdosing, Waldman calls for renewed research and drug-law reform in this informative, candid, altogether irresistible quest.”

-Donna Seaman, Booklist

“Engrossing... Candidly written with vivid detail, Waldman's thirty-day diary is compelling and eye-opening from both a medical and an observational perspective… As a former federal public defender and law professor who lectured about the war on drugs, Waldman is scholarly on the subject and infuses case study material into her memoir, offering interesting notes on neurochemistry, interviews with psychonauts, and chronicles of successful, pioneering research studies with psychedelics. Throughout, the author shares frank, revealing anecdotes on her family and personal life… Bravely honest... Thirty days on LSD therapy makes for a fascinating trip, indeed.”

-Kirkus Reviews

“After many unsuccessful conventional treatments for a mood disorder affecting her marriage, parenting, and life, Waldman began a 30-day private experiment using microdoses of LSD. . . In her smart, funny, authentic voice, [Waldman] tells how the drug taken every third day helped to normalize her ability to handle the travails of a complex marriage, busy family, and creative career. . . A diary construct allows the author to careen from the personal to the polemic. . . [A] great read.”

-Library Journal


“Crisp, hilarious, and weirdly optimistic, Ayelet Waldman breaks from the convention of mental health memoir the way an acid head breaks from reality. At its core this is a deeply romantic story about the redemptive power of marriage, surprising and easy to celebrate.”

- Jenni Konner

“In this raw, honest, and ultimately hopeful journey, Waldman takes us deep into the forest of her mind and moods. The success of her story with microdosing reminds the medical and legal communities how much still remains to be understand about the brain.”

-Dr. David Eagleman

"You could call this book her war on the War on Drugs, but it's so much more, and so much more funny."

-Rebecca Solnit

“Gutsy… Tells a really good story, one that will make readers think about how drugs get classified and how chemistry alters what we think of as essential personality traits.”

–Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s “Fresh Air”

“Relentlessly honest and surprisingly funny… Although hers was a journey few will take, A Really Good Day reads almost like an Everywoman’s experience, because Waldman's fears and reactions are so commonplace. She is so likable in her flaws and her determination that it's a relief to learn that the microdoses (or possibly her therapy sessions or maybe even a placebo effect, she acknowledges) allowed enough of a head shift that her life has become easier, lighter. She had the courage, the credentials and the insight to make this journey and tell us about it. They all add up to a fine read.”

–Sharon Peters, USA Today

“Documented with wit and humility… A Really Good Day delivers a mind-bending read.”

–Leigh Haber, O Magazine’s “10 Titles to Pick Up Now”

“Sensible and important… [written] with force and clarity… Succeeds in establishing that LSD and other psychedelics should be among the menu of pharmaceutical options available in America.”

–Nick Romeo, the Chicago Tribune

“Beautifully and intelligently delivered… A good supply of humor… An incredible perspective on the history of drugs in this country.”

–Dr. Lloyd Sederer, Psychology Today

“[Waldman] makes LSD’s illegal status more than a source of a middle-aged stoner comedy…she thoughtfully and thoroughly looks at the history of the drug.”

–Shannon Reed, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“This memoir is no The Bell Jar or Girl, Interrupted–Waldman is too funny, and resistant to making herself the hero of her own stories, for that sort of account. A winsome account of Waldman’s unusual way of dealing with her neuroses.”

The National Book Review

“Her entertaining journal interweaves drug-related research (she thinks LSD should be legal) with scenes from her famous marriage to writer Michael Chabon.”

—Kim Hubbard, People Magazine

“Waldman’s fascinating account of her radical month-long experiment with taking tiny doses of LSD…. The pages toggle between history and personal, with hilarious diary entries that read like Bridget Jones adapted for the neurotic Northern Californian.”

—Lauren Mechling, Vogue

“Breezy, well-researched.”

—Amanda Fortini, Esquire

An intriguing and thorough look at the therapeutic possibilities of an illegal drug… An engaging and deeply researched primer on a taboo subject and a compelling case for more research on it.”

—Nora Krug, The Washington Post

“Thoroughly enjoyable...thanks to the irrepressible levity of its author, from whom we get an honest play-by-play of the emotions required for domestic maneuvers and a handy, abbreviated history of the war on drugs...Waldman seems able to inspire moral panic every time she lifts a pen…. She is the patron saint of bad mothers with modern challenges.”

—Kaitlin Phillips, Bookforum

“Vibrant… A candid self-portrait… Reliably thought-provoking.”

—Kevin Canfield, San Francisco Chronicle

“A wildly brilliant, radically candid, and rigorous daybook of [Waldman’s] life-changing, last-resort journey.”

—Lisa Shea, Elle

“Waldman is good company; she is candid, goofy, and beyond knowledgeable about the drugs she takes to stabilize her mood, and the risks she takes in procuring them. Her expertise on the subject is twofold: She is a former federal public defender and a law school professor… Waldman’s honest and intelligent ethos takes the form of a humane, well-reasoned, and absolutely necessary argument for a major overhaul of America’s drug policy. The book triumphantly coheres in a lucid manifesto of how and why the racist, immoral undertaking called the War on Drugs has failed… A Really Good Day is a passionate, persuasive argument for drug decriminalization.”

—Claire Vaye Watkins, The New Republic

“[The last book that made me laugh] may have been Ayelet Waldman’s A Really Good Day in manuscript. It’s a nonfiction book about combating depression by way of a daily micro-dose of LSD, and it’s Ayelet, so you can imagine.”

–Zadie Smith, in the column “By the Book,” The New York Times Book Review