Rachel Nuwer—I FEEL LOVE: MDMA and the Quest for Connection in a Fractured World

Cover of the book I FEEL LOVE: MDMA and the Quest for Connection in a Fractured World by Rachel Nuwer with the words in neon colors and slightly blurred.


Rachel Nuwer
Bloomsbury, June 6, 2023, $26.09 (hardcover), Kindle $9.99
ISBN: 978-1635579581, ASIN: B0BSF9XW49

Nuwer reports:

People frequently ask me whether I Feel Love is about MDMA’s use as a therapy, or about its role in the recreational scene. The answer is both, and so much more. I came to think of MDMA as the protagonist of I Feel Love, because the book encapsulates this fascinating molecule’s entire story, including history, politics, science and culture.

Portrait photo of Rachel Nuwer

Rachel Nuwer

I wrote I Feel Love because MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD will likely be approved by the FDA by this time next year. I felt that it was important for a resource to exist that brings together all we know about MDMA and presents that information in a compelling and understandable way. I also felt that the stories of some of the many lives touched by MDMA, and the rollercoaster ride this molecule has taken over the years, were deserving of their own book-length telling. On a more personal note, I wanted a break from writing primarily about wildlife conservation and animal trafficking.

Things did not go smoothly when my agent began shopping my proposal around.

All the publishers we initially approached rejected the proposal because they said a) Michael Pollan had already written this book (not true), or b) There isn’t enough about MDMA to warrant an entire book (not true).

In May 2021, however, a big paper about MDMA-assisted therapy was published in Nature Medicine and I wrote about the findings for the New York Times. Suddenly, publishers were interested in my book proposal. I’m grateful for all the initial rejections, though, because they opened the door for me to find a home for the book with Bloomsbury. The team here has been truly wonderful to work with.

I had just a year to report and write the book, which was pretty intense and not something I would want to do again. I didn’t have a single day off for six months. I’m very happy with the final product, and also so happy this book is now out in the world serving as a resource for readers.

Contact info:

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Banner image adapted from original photo by Rachel Nuwer.

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Advance Copy

The path from idea to book may take myriad routes. The Advance Copy column, started in 2000 by NASW volunteer book editor Lynne Lamberg, features NASW authors telling the stories behind their books. Authors are asked to report how they got their idea, honed it into a proposal, found an agent and a publisher, funded and conducted their research, and organized their writing process. They also are asked to share what they wish they’d known when they started or would do differently next time, and what advice they can offer aspiring authors. Lamberg edits the authors’ answers to produce the Advance Copy reports.

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Publication of NASW author reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW's endorsement of any publication or the ideas, values, or material contained within or espoused by authors or their books. We hope this column stimulates productive discussions on important topics now and in the future as both science and societies progress. We welcome your discussion in the comments section below.

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