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 listeners 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.
"With brutal honesty, sly wit, and natural suspicion toward our most commonly held cultural assumptions, Alana Massey renders each and every subject she lands on a million times more interesting. From Sylvia Plath to Princess Diana, Fiona Apple to Amber Rose, Massey examines the most complicated and confusing female celebrities to shape the modern psyche, gracefully reflecting our shared sympathies, blind spots, and vulnerabilities along the way." (Heather Havrilesky, author of How to Be a Person in the World)
"Through the prism of female icons and celebrities, both deified and demonized, All the Lives I Want offers a poignant and often hilarious dissection of how pop culture shapes and consumes the women it elevates. Embedded in personal anecdote, Massey draws vital attention to, and urges celebration of, (the overlooked) sites of resistance therein. Massey's work, with prose both poignant and acerbic, is an invocation towards empathy-a call to women to be generous with ourselves and each other. We do ourselves a great favor to listen to her." (Natasha Lennard, columnist and contributor at The New York Times, The Nation, The Intercept, and Fusion)
"Alana Massey's writing often makes me uncomfortable, and sometimes makes me feel like resisting - but it also makes me laugh, and always makes me think, and always - certainly - makes me feel. Her 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 best-selling author of The Empathy Exams)
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Recommending to All Fellow Chicks!!
- lil' old me