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All the Lives I Want: Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to Be Famous Strangers
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"Alana Massey's prose is to brutal honesty what a mandolin is to a butter knife: she's sharper; she slices thinner; she shows the cross-section of a truth so deftly—so powerfully and cannily—it's hard to look away, and hard not to feel that something has shifted in you for having read her." — Leslie Jamison, New York Times bestselling author of The Empathy Exams From columnist and critic Alana Massey, a collection of essays examining the intersection of the personal with pop culture through the lives of pivotal female figures—from Sylvia Plath to Britney Spears—in the spirit of Chuck Klosterman, with the heart of a true fan. Mixing Didion's affected cool with moments of giddy celebrity worship, Massey examines the lives of the women who reflect our greatest aspirations and darkest fears back onto us. These essays are personal without being confessional and clever in a way that invites readers into the joke. A cultural critique and a finely wrought fan letter, interwoven with stories that are achingly personal, All the Lives I Want is also an exploration of mental illness, the sex industry, and the dangers of loving too hard. But it is, above all, a paean to the celebrities who have shaped a generation of women—from Scarlett Johansson to Amber Rose, Lil' Kim, Anjelica Huston, Lana Del Rey, Anna Nicole Smith and many more. These reflections aim to reimagine these women's legacies, and in the process, teach us new ways of forgiving ourselves.
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Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
02/07/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781455543649
ASIN:
B01K3WN9DO
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APA Citation (style guide)

Alana Massey. (2017). All the Lives I Want: Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to Be Famous Strangers. Grand Central Publishing.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Alana Massey. 2017. All the Lives I Want: Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to Be Famous Strangers. Grand Central Publishing.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Alana Massey, All the Lives I Want: Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to Be Famous Strangers. Grand Central Publishing, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Alana Massey. All the Lives I Want: Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to Be Famous Strangers. Grand Central Publishing, 2017. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: Signed with Grand Central Publishing since June of 2015, Alana Massey is a writer whose work covers culture, labor, identity, and mortality. The popularity and substance of her writing has earned her the attention of publications like The Awl, The Columbia Journalism Review, and Forbes, who have all published profiles of the author. Massey counts authors like Leslie Jamison, Molly Crabapple, Heather Havrilesky, and Rebecca Traister as admirers of her writing, in addition to her sizeable Twitter following that has tripled in size each of the last two years. Massey's essays, criticism, reviews, and reporting appear regularly in publications like The Guardian, New York Magazine, Elle, The Atlantic, Hazlitt, Buzzfeed, and more.
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shortDescription

From columnist and critic Alana Massey, a "sharp, insightful, and hypnotizing" collection of essays examining the intersection of the personal with pop culture through the lives of pivotal female figures—from Sylvia Plath to Britney Spears—in the spirit of Chuck Klosterman, with the heart of a true fan (Bustle.com).


Mixing Didion's affected cool with moments of giddy celebrity worship, Massey examines the lives of the women who reflect our greatest aspirations and darkest fears back onto us. These essays are personal without being confessional and clever in a way that invites readers into the joke. A cultural critique and a finely wrought fan letter, interwoven with stories that are achingly personal, ALL THE LIVES I WANT is also an exploration of mental illness, the sex industry, and the dangers of loving too hard. But it is, above all, a paean to the celebrities who have shaped a generation of women—from Scarlett Johansson to Amber...

isOwnedByCollections
True
title
All the Lives I Want
fullDescription
"Alana Massey's prose is to brutal honesty what a mandolin is to a butter knife: she's sharper; she slices thinner; she shows the cross-section of a truth so deftly—so powerfully and cannily—it's hard to look away, and hard not to feel that something has shifted in you for having read her." — Leslie Jamison, New York Times bestselling author of The Empathy Exams From columnist and critic Alana Massey, a collection of essays examining the intersection of the personal with pop culture through the lives of pivotal female figures—from Sylvia Plath to Britney Spears—in the spirit of Chuck Klosterman, with the heart of a true fan. Mixing Didion's affected cool with moments of giddy celebrity worship, Massey examines the lives of the women who reflect our greatest aspirations and darkest fears back onto us. These essays are personal without being confessional and clever in a way that invites readers into the joke. A cultural critique and a finely wrought fan letter, interwoven with stories that are achingly personal, All the Lives I Want is also an exploration of mental illness, the sex industry, and the dangers of loving too hard. But it is, above all, a paean to the celebrities who have shaped a generation of women—from Scarlett Johansson to Amber Rose, Lil' Kim, Anjelica Huston, Lana Del Rey, Anna Nicole Smith and many more. These reflections aim to reimagine these women's legacies, and in the process, teach us new ways of forgiving ourselves.
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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        December 19, 2016
        Massey, a columnist for New York magazine’s “The Cut,” analyzes a number of topics—including female anger, destructive romances, weight and body issues, and society’s treatment of creative intelligent women—through pop culture in her debut, a collection of essays. Though Massey discusses celebrities she doesn’t personally know, she writes about them with intimacy, drawing connections between their lives and her own: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen attended NYU at the same time Massey was adjusting to the college’s frenetic environment, and the media’s sexist portrayals of Courtney Love reflect Massey’s experience with misogyny. The chapter on writer Sylvia Plath seems out of place in a book focused on rock and roll and reality television celebrity, and more space could have been devoted to women rappers’ artistry as well as their beefs, but this book reminds readers how celebrities’ seemingly dazzling lives can provide insight into their own. Agent: Adriann Ranta, Wolf Literary Services.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        December 1, 2016
        Odd but beguiling short essays about female celebrities toward whom the author has decidedly mixed feelings.In her first book, essayist Massey collects pieces about Winona Ryder, Gwyneth Paltrow, Britney Spears, Courtney Love, Anna Nicole Smith, Lana Del Rey, and the Olsen twins, among others. These women--often the subjects of great scrutiny by celebrity magazines--prompt the author to ponder, with wit and keen self-reflection, what our feelings about them reveal about us. She muses, for example, about what she felt when she discovered she weighed less than Spears or why, when she was younger, she identified so strongly with Ryder, that "bottomless well of uncool and discomfort," and now has begun to see that Paltrow may be more than the sum of her "tasteful but safe" self-presentation. Massey also thinks back on her fascination with Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, from their childhood appearances on Full House through their presence at New York University when she was attending the college, and she finds herself embracing the fact that "they have become the eccentric millionaires it never occurred to their adoring public they might become." These tart, original essays are interspersed with others that are less humorous and more academic in nature--e.g., about the cult of Sylvia Plath and the role of sisterhood in The Virgin Suicides. Massey's tendency to insert herself into the stories of her subjects is more successful when she's talking about a pop or TV star than a well-regarded novelist: her attempt to compare an unfortunate romantic relationship to the plot of Joan Didion's Play It As It Lays is misguided. Though the volume contains a certain amount of filler, Massey's unlikely insights into how women are shaped by the celebrities we idolize or despise are likely to prompt thought and discussion.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        January 1, 2017

        Spanning music, film, literature, time, and space, critic Massey's collection of essays strikes a nerve with her poignant and grittier form of celebrity worship. Focusing on female figures who have suffered or been subjected to unfair scrutiny for their relationships and public persona, Massey's essays link her own desires, struggles, and triumphs to her idols in enlightening and powerful ways, raising the question, how far is too far in the public fascination of celebrity? The gamut of women Massey features is broad and pleasantly surprising, as one might never expect to read about Joan Didion and Anna Nicole Smith in the same collection. Touching on relationships, mental illness, and sexuality without being preachy are Massey's strong points. Yet, sometimes the essays feel too much like a college assignment and less like a heartfelt personal discussion. In a collection in which the author references "the grass is always greener..." in a few instances, it can be difficult at times to decipher whether Massey is cautioning against celebrity or championing for certain women to achieve a more prominent status in the public eye. VERDICT This enjoyable collection has many shining moments; however, it may not have wide appeal.--Kaitlin Malixi, Bucks Cty. Free Lib., Doylestown, PA

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        December 15, 2016
        In what could be research papers for the most fun (and probably, sadly, most nonexistent) graduate course ever, thirtysomething Massey expounds on the movies, literature, and pop culture that have guided, inspired, or infuriated her. Her best friends, female icons well-known by women born in the late 1970s and early 1980s, are a who's-who of the raised-by-MTV generation: Courtney Love, Lil' Kim, Princess Diana, Scarlett Johansson, and Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen (who, not incidentally, attended NYU at the same time as the author). Massey discovers the Sylvia Plath who lives today, voluminously, on Goodreads, Etsy, and Tumblr (the book's title borrows from Plath). She knows a relationship is doomed when her boyfriend says his celebrity crush is Gwyneth, and Massey considers herself a proud Winona. Anjelica Huston shows Massey how to suffer indignities with grace. She thinks there's much to learn from the media's treatment of fellow-former-strippers Amber Rose and Anna Nicole Smith. Part memoir, part social critique, and fully feminist, Massey's first book will reach a simpatico and appreciative audience.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

subtitle
Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to Be Famous Strangers
popularity
375
publisher
Grand Central Publishing
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