Essays, Indie, Non-fiction

Revisiting The 2020 Experience Most of Us Had From My Balcony to Yours by Nino Gugunishvili

I first learned about From My Balcony to Yours through a review on Bookstagram by Sad Sunday, and was immediately curious to read it. Luckily, a short while later the author messaged me with a review request. I eagerly accepted.

One evening’s read, From My Balcony to Yours really put me back in time and made me wonder about the year we all had. It’s a collection of short essays about the ‘mood’ of 2020, the quarantine, the weight gain, the wild new hobbies or lack of thereof, and the outstanding skills we developed in fooling everyone, including our own selves, about our real lives, as portrayed on social media.

From My Balcony to Yours by Nino Gugunishvili

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★★★★☆ 4 stars
How I read this:
free ebook copy from author

Why was I so curious to check it out? It’s not to say that we’re already ‘looking back’ now, in the middle of 2021 – although a lot of us are vaccinated and there is more freedom, there are still more questions than answers – particularly about the future. But you just can’t help looking back. You want to relate your experience with that of others.

But the reason it was even more interesting for me that way, was because I’ve been working from home for some three or four years before the pandemic hit. I saw everyone freak out about what was generally, well, MY LIFESTYLE. I’d even say, my chosen lifestyle.

Sure, working from home still lets you have the freedom to go out to have fun – unlike the quarantine did, but over all, my life didn’t change THAT much. Strangely, I was even a little upset about how bored everyone was with their abundant free time for hobbies that appeared out of nowhere all of a sudden. Meanwhile, somehow my workload only increased (I don’t even know how), and I was stuck working overtime AND also not being able to go see anyone, while looking at everyone bitch about “oh no, too much free time” 😂 odd situation, eh? (I do recognize that I was lucky, because many people lost their jobs at the time – but still, there was A LOT of “I’m booooored” whining online, you have to admit.)

from my balcony to yours small

An image of the cover of From My Balcony to Yours, on a PocketBook Color e-reader, and there are candies, necklaces around it, also a teacup and teapot, and a bouquet of dried flowers; Photo by AvalinahsBooks

But I digress. However, surely you see that my life kind of went the other way during quarantine than most people’s. Which was why I was even MORE interested to read this. What was everyone else’s experience? How much of it will I be able to relate to? (Not saying that Nino Gugunishvili’s experience must’ve been wholly universal either, but it does seem to match what I saw online and on the media much more than my day to day life did.)

Immediately though, I found relatable things. The “what if I’d thought to stock up” or “why did I skip doing this and that before I lost the chance to”… So yeah, that’s universal, as it turns out.

And I really liked this quote: “We need to know because we think we can control when we know, and when we handle, we can plan, and planning means going back to normal. But what if all this Coronavirus story is about shifting the focus and not being so obsessed with planning and controlling and wanting to know what’s next? What if it’s all about enjoying what we have right now, at this very moment and not worrying about the future?” – I don’t know if this time was particularly “about” anything (I mean, who knows why things happen?) But this ‘control’ theme has been running through my mind for a long time now, so this really hit the spot.

I could also really relate about needing the time to adjust to things being ‘open’ again, of going out to see people. It was so weird at first, and I don’t know if everyone had it… I certainly did – just like the author describes it.

The first two thirds of the book were directly about the pandemic. But the last bit… It seemed to be about life in general. About missed chances, fake (and real) declarations of love on social media and what ifs, directions one could have taken. I will admit, these thoughts also crossed my mind during this time, too.

So in the end, it seems I found a lot of stuff I could relate to, despite thinking this whole time my experience was different to what I saw online. And yet… I guess one way or another, we were all in the same shared experience, at least in part (I only mean the lockdown experience, and by no means am I talking about the people who were directly hit by the illness or lost loved ones to it). And somehow? It’s good knowing that. That in being alone, you still weren’t all the way alone. You know what I mean?

From My Balcony to Yours is a short, one evening read that you will most likely vibe with – if you haven't slept through the entirety of 2020: Click To Tweet


All in all, From My Balcony to Yours is a short, one evening read that you will most likely vibe with. It will make you think about your own experiences, or perhaps will make you feel less alone in the time you felt you were extremely alone in. You were not – all of us were seemingly alone – alone together. It’s odd, but reading other people’s experiences really does make you feel that way.

I thank the author for giving me a free copy of the ebook in exchange to my honest review. This has not affected my opinion.

From My Balcony to Yours by Nino Gugunishvili

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